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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Grazing Corn Stalks on Soil Physical Properties

item Karlen, Douglas
item Clark, Justin - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Busby, Darrell - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Peterson, Brian - USDA-NRCS
item Singleton, Peter - ENVIRONMENT WAIKATO

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2005
Publication Date: January 20, 2005
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Clark, J., Russell, J., Busby, D., Peterson, B., Singleton, P. 2005. Effects of grazing corn stalks on soil physical properties. In: Proceedings of the Heart of American Grazing Conference, January 19-20, 2005, Wilmington, OH.

Technical Abstract: Stored feed costs represent one of the largest expenses associated with beef cow-calf production. Winter grazing of corn crop residue can substantially reduce these costs, but will that practice subsequently reduce soybean yield in a two-year corn-soybean rotation? An on-farm research study by scientists at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory, in cooperation with colleagues at Iowa State University and in New Zealand, was conducted to determine how grazing corn crop residues during the winter affected various soil physical properties and soybean yield during the following year. Grazing increased soil surface roughness and compaction, especially if it occurred when soil moisture was high and soil temperatures were above freezing. However, with or without preplant tillage, the overall effects of grazing on subsequent soybean stand establishment, growth, and yield were small compared to the added benefit of using the crop residue as an inexpensive feed source. For producers who want to graze corn crop residue without sacrificing soybean yield, we recommend that they should restrict grazing to periods when soil temperatures are below freezing and/or plan to till the surface soil prior to planting soybean.

Last Modified: 3/27/2015
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