Many producers have turned to letting cattle graze corn fodder as a cost-effective feedstuff amid record-setting drought. But a Purdue Extension animal scientist says there are certain precautions to take to keep animals healthy.
When hungry cattle are turned out on corn stalks with no prior rumen adaptation to starch, they can suffer acute acidosis — a sudden drop in rumen pH caused by rapid grain overload that can lead to illness or death.
“In the more seriously stressed, lower-yielding fields, some producers are reporting ear drop resulting from stalk quality issues and ‘nubbin’ ears that are slipping through the stripper plates of the combine head,” Ron Lemenager said. “Collectively, this ear drop can create acute acidosis when grazing corn stalks if not managed correctly.”
Part of that management is to scout fields before turning out cattle to determine how much corn is there.
“Cows seem to have a homing device, and they will find ears wherever they are in the field,” Lemenager said.… Continue readingRead More »