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Cattle on corn stalks.

 
Matthew Garner
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Well a quick Google shows that yes you can in fact feed it to cattle. Makes since because corn is just a really big grass anyways. So my question is why isn't it more common. I'm more of think about people who have to overwinter the cattle they own and don't have them on pasture year round. Forgive me if it's obvious reason I don't own any cattle yet. have been reading the omnivore's dilemma and it had me thinking on how the industry ag raise it's cows.

It seems like a good use for something a lot of conventional farmers treat as waste.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Matthew Garner wrote:It seems like a good use for something a lot of conventional farmers treat as waste.


Small scale gardeners might treat corn stalks as waste. People in town might consider corn stalks to be waste. They ask me for free "waste" corn stalks. I say, 'no way in hell'. I used to loan corn stalks to people on condition that they return them to me, but they treated them like waste, and stole the stalks from me by not returning them as promised... "No point returning waste." So these days, I don't allow a corn stalk to leave my fields unless I am well paid for the loss of nutrients.

Even conventional farmers do not treat corn stalks as waste... They are considered a valuable soil amendment and as nutrition for next year's crop. On my farm, corn stalks get returned to the ground were they grew. The ground where corn grew last year is often the most fertile location on my farm. So while town people are buying mulch, I am growing corn for the same purpose.

The dairy farmers around here grow 'corn silage' which is chopped up green corn which is lacto-fermented before feeding to the cows. They return the cow manure to the fields, so that the nutrients are not wasted.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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As Joseph said, the cornstalks are a pretty significant nutrient load from the soil. I suspect this is why straw is getting more expensive- because the sale of straw stripmines the soil.

Now if it's your own corn and your own cows, then its a great way to get another yield out of your corn crop [sweet corn in particular likely has more life and feed value in the stalk than mature grain corn] if you don't mind the extra labor of redistributing the resultant product back on the field.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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When I was growing up we always fed our sweet corn stalks to our cows. They ate them like candy. No cows now, so I use them for mulch. I try to have melon vines growing into the corn by the time it's ripe, then just chop it down with a sharp hoe.
 
Matthew Garner
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That all makes good sences I guess I didn't think of it like that. I didn't mean export the the stalks I meant to bring the cow too it but that's I guess is really just something a farmer with both cattle and corn to do. My post wasn't that we'll though out haha. I'm just learning alot about cows hope to own some soon. I've since my post learned an out cattle and bamboo, river can and suger cane. It just seems like there are so many things better than grain for cows it blows my mind that people feed so much to them.
 
chip sanft
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Corn stalks are interesting. In fact, I've read it was probably the stalk that was first appreciated, way back when.

Teosinte, the progenitor of maize, had and has kernels that are few and encased in a hard hull. That makes them unappealing as a grain. Food historians have suggested that teosinte was actually appreciated first for its sugar-rich stalks. The up-close agricultural techniques of prehistoric Mesoamericans meant that they were sure to notice any mutations, such as larger or un-encased kernels, which were the changes that eventually led to maize as we know it.

I'm sure I don't have nearly as much as Joseph has, but I started grow corn (popcorn, being something I already had around) for green manure, too: Not just for the stalk and leaves, but because I've read (contrary to what people used to think) corn has an extensive root system and I'm trying to get roots to grow into clay.
 
Matthew Garner
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Cool stuff chip! Is corn better at breaking up compact clay than other plants? I don't have any experience with clay being from Florida.everything is sand here. I think it's interesting the fact that corn would go extinct if it wasn't for humans since the seeds can't escape from the husk.
 
Ken W Wilson
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I never thought about cane. It takes a lot of space, but it's handy for gardening for stakes and trellises. I've even used it for mulch. I've never tried eating the shoots. Does anyone know for sure that they're edible? Seems lie any other bamboo
 
Matthew Garner
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I was reading about river cane in a book and they were talking about how it was common feed in thw early 1700s for cattle and how cattle loved to destroy it in rivers. I was talking about it with my father and a friend of his feeds the leftover biomass from sugar cane to the cattle. There is a lady in GA who farms timber bamboo and feeds the leafy part to her cattle and they love it. But they really only like the leafy part of cane plants from what I understand. Bamboo and cane is just a grass so it makes sence.
 
chip sanft
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There's so much chaos in my garden it's hard to tell what's what, but I definitely got good corn growth on my soil, which is clay with the organic matter I've been adding.

Apparently people in rural Mexico still chew the insides of the stalks (Beautiful Corn: America's Original Grain from Seed to Plate, for example, says this). After I read that I chewed some pith from a corn stalk I grew and it wasn't sweet, but that was at the end of the season. I wonder if a green stalk would taste better to people? Sugar cane, after all, is very hard and woody but sweet if you chew it.
 
jimmy gallop
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A lot of people think bad about growing corn and I agree if all you use is the corn but when you use the whole plant it isn't that bad. lots of carbon for the pile.
 
Leora Laforge
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That all makes good sences I guess I didn't think of it like that. I didn't mean export the the stalks I meant to bring the cow too it but that's I guess is really just something a farmer with both cattle and corn to do.


Today I was out driving through the countryside and and I happened to see this exact thing happening. I saw a corn maze full of cows, I don't think the cobs had even been harvested. It seems the farmer made a bit of money off having a corn maze in the summer, and then saved on the cost of harvesting it by letting his cows do it for him.
 
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