The North Dakota Corn Growers Association and North Dakota Corn Utilization Council are challenging corn growers to donate or provide low-cost corn grazing or corn stover bales to the state’s cattle ranchers who don’t have enough hay for their livestock this year due to the drought.
“Mother Nature has dealt North Dakota cattle ranchers a difficult hand this year,” says NDCGA President Carson Klosterman of Wyndmere, N.D. “Our members are committed to helping them turn their situation around by providing some of the high-quality feedstuffs available in cornfields across North Dakota.”
NDCGA and NDCUC board members have already committed hundreds of acres and many tons of corn stover for this effort, and the groups expect those numbers to grow once others hear about this opportunity to help.
The groups are encouraging their growers to list their corn acre or stover availability on either of the feed clearinghouse resources available to help North Dakota producers — the North Dakota State University FeedList or the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Interactive Drought Hotline or by calling 701-425-8454.
“When your crop fails as a corn farmer, you just have to move on and hope next year’s crop turns out better. For our fellow ranchers who have no feed and have to sell off their herds, this drought is a whole different situation,” says Scott German, NDCUC chairman and Oakes, N.D., farmer. “We are facing the drought together, and we will find solutions together; that’s what we do in agriculture.”
The NDCUC has funded several livestock feed research projects by North Dakota State University researchers showing value in the use of corn and corn byproducts, such as dried distillers grain and stover. Recently, the NDCUC funded drought resource materials used by NDSU and other agencies to support drought and feed efforts.
If feeding low-quality forages, wet and dried distillers grain can be used to supplement them, according to Jeff Zueger, chairman of the North Dakota Ethanol Council. The five ethanol plants across the state produce more than 1.4 million tons of the high-quality livestock feed each year, with more than 90% exported out of state in a typical year.
He suggests contracting early to guarantee price and availability. Visit ndethanol.org/nd-plants for locations and contact information.
“A little added protein to the diet improves digestibility of low-quality forages, so diets including crop residues, mature grass or other lower-quality forages will benefit from adding distillers grain,” says Vern Anderson, retired North Dakota State University animal scientist and adjunct professor at the Carrington Research Extension Center. “Consult with their nutritionist, as there are a variety of ways to use distillers grain within rations based on the needs of the individual herd.”
More information on feeding distillers grain can be found at www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/livestock/feeding-coproducts-of-the-ethanol-industry-to-beef-cattle.