By Jay Parsons, Daren Redfearn and Mary Drewnoski
The Crop Residue Exchange continues to link cattle producers to available grazing resources. To date, most of the listings have been for available corn residue.
Crop producers who have listed residue available for grazing in the past are encouraged to log in and update their listings on the exchange for the upcoming fall and winter grazing season.
Recent updates to the exchange have expanded its geographical reach to include portions of the states that surround Nebraska. Crop producers in much of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota now can list fields they have available for grazing.
After establishing an account on the Crop Residue Exchange, producers can draw out the plot of land available for grazing by using an interactive map and entering basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability and dates available.
They also need to provide their preferred contact information. The land available for grazing can be described as a "Residue Type" (corn, wheat, sorghum, other) or pasture. Pricing can be listed as a cost per acre or a cost per head per day.
Livestock producers can search the Crop Residue Exchange database for grazing available within a radius for the location of interest. Livestock producers must be logged in to view the contact information attached to each listing.
The Crop Residue Exchange came online in August 2017. To date, there are 281 registered users that have posted 45 listings available for grazing. More than 6,000 searches for grazing resources have been conducted on the exchange, and almost 600 views of contact information for available listings have occurred.
The exchange continues to expand in usage, as well as features available to better connect livestock producers with available forage resources.
In addition to providing a winter feed resource, grazing corn residue can increase the amount and rate of corn residue breakdown. When grazed at proper stocking rates, small but positive effects on subsequent crop production after grazing have been observed.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommendations for establishing corn residue stocking rates are based on 50% utilization of leaves and husks (8 pounds per bushel or 20% of the total corn residue). Some additional corn residue disappears through trampling and wind loss, but there have been no increased erosion risks when only 40% to 50% of the corn residue was removed through grazing.
The Crop Residue Exchange is made possible with funding support from Nebraska Extension and the Northern Plains Climate Hub. Visit the exchange at cropresidueexchange.unl.edu.
Parsons is a Nebraska Extension farm and ranch management specialist; Redfearn is a Nebraska Extension forage and crop residue specialist; and Drewnoski is a Nebraska Extension beef systems specialist.