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Learn to meet feed needs by baling corn residue

Drought prompts producers to look at all possible feedstuffs.

Kevin Schulz, Editor

August 30, 2021

2 Min Read
Raking hay machine at HHD
ON-SITE LEARNING: Nebraska Extension beef systems educators will share the latest research on baling cornstalk residue. Presentations run daily from 1:30 to 2 p.m. before the alfalfa raking demos. Curt Arens

With feedstuffs likely coming at a premium this drought year, ranchers will want to attend the cornstalk residue workshops and demonstrations during this year’s Husker Harvest Days, Sept. 14-16 at Grand Island, Neb.

Brad Schick, Nebraska Extension beef systems educator, says Extension personnel will be sharing the latest research data, while representatives from equipment manufacturers will cover innovations in their latest products.

The cornstalk residue workshops are 1:30 to 2 p.m. daily, before the alfalfa raking and haying demos. The schedule is subject to change, so sign up for mobile text alerts via Husker Harvest Days.

Current plans are to follow up the cornstalk residue workshop with baling demonstrations. But “weather and crop and equipment dependent, we will then be able to bale some cornstalks,” Schick says. “That would be the ideal. Two years ago, we weren’t able to bale because it rained.”

Work continues through pandemic

Even though the Husker Harvest Days show was canceled in 2020, Extension researchers did not take the year off. Schick says the workshops will begin with Extension sharing information on the effects on soil properties, feed quality and yield after baling.

“Our results haven’t changed that much from what we have, but there’s always ongoing research. So, if there’s short-term data that we can provide, we will,” he says.

Some of that information will center on how producers can get the most out of their cornstalk residue to meet the needs of their livestock, and doing what’s right for future production.

“There’s always trade-offs on decisions we make on our ground, and in a year where you need feed, you might have to go beyond what we always feel comfortable with. But in the next few years, maybe leave some more or not take as much off,” Schick says. “It also completely depends on your soil type or topography, on how often or how much you should bale. Corn residue can be also changed so it’s even higher-quality feed after it’s baled. We’ll talk about ammoniation, and making poor-quality feeds higher-quality feeds.”

Vendors will follow up the Extension portion to discuss changes in equipment settings and showcase the rakes and balers that manufacturers will have on hand.

Schick says he is looking forward to the in-person show by “being able to talk to other producers who are there and find out how they like to do it, too. Getting shoulder to shoulder with those producers and having those conversations, that’s just as valuable as information we have.”

Contact Schick at 308-536-2691.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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