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Maximizing farm yields - smart strategies for corn stover use
South Dakota Ag Connection - 11/16/2023

In agricultural practices, making the most of available resources is key. Corn stover, consisting of leaves, stalks, and cobs left in fields after harvest, offers valuable opportunities. For every 40 bushels of corn produced, approximately 1 ton of stover is generated. Let's explore the potential of using corn stover in farming practices.

Nutritional and Environmental Benefits

Grazing and baling corn stover can be a low-cost feed solution for livestock, particularly during winter. It extends the grazing season, reduces the need for feed yards, and returns organic matter and nutrients to the soil through natural manure. This practice aligns well with sustainable farming goals.

Stover Removal - Reasons and Impacts

Removing stover from fields can also benefit crop production. It can warm the soil faster in spring, facilitating earlier planting. This practice requires careful consideration. Erosion, especially in fields prone to wind or water run-off, and nutrient removal are significant factors. Every ton of stover removed equates to a loss of about $27.61 in nutrients.

Economic Considerations

For landowners and cattle owners, the daily grazing rate offers flexibility. The cost of grazing ranges from $0.50 to $2.00 per head per day, with stover bales selling between $70 and $90 per ton. Balancing the cost of nutrient loss with income from stover sales is crucial for decision-making.

Making Informed Decisions

Determining the right amount of stover removal involves considering the corn yield, nutrient costs, and the value of the harvested product. This approach ensures both financial and agronomic benefits for the landowner and feed resources for cattle producers.

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