Farmers Surveyed on Grazing Corn Residue

March 11, 2016 02:22 PM

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers had a simple question: “Why do some farmers graze their corn residue, while others choose not to?” So they did the sensible thing and solicited responses from more than 100 farmers. Here’s what they learned.

  • 39% did not graze their corn residue
  • 39% grazed only their own livestock
  • 16% rented their residue
  • 6% grazed their own livestock and rented to others

Those renting out some acres found a chance to capture extra profits, according to the UNL researchers. Farmers who rented their residue averaged $11 to $15 per acre. Of the remainder who didn’t rent, 48% say they wouldn’t graze, regardless of rental fee, and other 38% say it would take a rental fee of $15 or more to graze their residue.

The 39% who do not graze their corn residue gave several reasons for this decision, including:

  • Grazing causes compaction
  • It has a negative impact on farming practices
  • We don’t have water available for livestock
  • Livestock producers won’t pay what the stalks are worth
  • Grazing interferes with fall fieldwork
  • We don’t have the ability to fence

Fear of lowered yields the following crop season was not a major concern, according to the respondents. Approximately 93% of them expect it to have no impact or even a positive effect on next year’s corn or soybean yields.

For more findings from this survey, visit

Have you grazed livestock on corn residue before? If so, what was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Spell Check

Teutopolis, IL
3/13/2016 03:25 PM

  I graze corn and beans residue every fall. I also sow oats and turnips and strip graze along with the residue and have very good luck. I get an average of four months of feed out of this system. Just need to convince some neighbors to rent me some of theirs even if I had to haul water and put up fence myself could possibly be worth it if rental price was right.

Kearney, NE
3/12/2016 05:27 AM

  Grazing crop residues is a time proven asset on my farm. They are the easiest way to cheapen the cost of production in the livestock business. I no till, and as long as I remove my cows from the fields by the first of March I have had no compaction problems.

Belle Vernon, PA
3/13/2016 12:37 PM

  Always had some fodder to graze on during the winter until I started chopping everything. Now I plant cover of half oats half rye on a lot more acres and the cattle stayed in excellent condition all winter.


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