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 http://cropwatch.unl.edu/nebraska-farmer-perspectives-grazing-corn-residue.
Have you grazed livestock on corn residue before? If so, what was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.