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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Economic Comparison of Livestock Grazing and Corn Production in Eastern Nebraska

Authors
item Mitchell, Robert
item Vogel, Kenneth
item Varvel, Gary
item Klopfenstein, T - UNI OF NE-LINCOLN
item Clark, R - UNI OF NE-LINCOLN

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2003
Publication Date: February 1, 2004
Citation: Mitchell, R., Vogel, K.P., Varvel, G.E., Klopfenstein, T.J., Clark, R.T. 2004. An economic comparison of livestock grazing and corn production in eastern nebraska. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. #258.

Technical Abstract: Perennial grasses and corn (Zea mays L.) production provide the foundation for the agricultural industry in Nebraska. Many producers grow both perennial grass pastures and corn to meet their livestock feed demands and diversify their operations. The objective of this study was to compare the economic potential of livestock grazing and corn production on rainfed cropland in eastern Nebraska. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) pastures were seeded near Mead, NE in 0.4-ha pastures, and were burned and fertilized with ammonium nitrate at 112 kg N ha-1 in the spring prior to grazing. Each pasture was stocked with three crossbred yearling steers ('300 kg) in mid-June 2000, 2001, and 2002 to provide a stocking rate of 7.5 steers ha-1. Dryland corn was grown with best management practices on similar soils approximately 3 km from the pastures. Pasture development cost was amortized for 15 years at 5%, and added to annual inputs of fertilizer, herbicides, and burning to total approximately $150 ha-1. Annual corn inputs were approximately $340 ha-1. Big bluestem produced an average of 450 kg of beef ha-1 and corn produced an average of 5330 kg of grain ha-1 during this 3-year study. On average, livestock grazing returned about three times more dollars ha-1 than corn, and appears to have the best economic potential on non-irrigated cropland in eastern Nebraska.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014