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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
chopping silage

Drought Stressed Corn for Cattle Feed

Harvesting of drought stressed corn silage has begun on numerous Illinois farms. Many more acres will follow in the coming weeks. With more than 71% of the state in extreme drought, farmers are looking to salvage a failed corn crop as livestock feed. It is important to remember that drought stressed corn is likely high in nitrates. Testing for nitrates is strongly recommended.

In the past two weeks I have assisted in conducting several meetings across the state. Mike Roegge, University of Illinois Extension Educator, has prepared a summary of the topics discussed found here.

I have also put together a list of frequently asked questions about drought corn as feed found here.

I am confident that producers in Illinois will find a way to make enough feed to get our cattle through this drought. It is important to remember plants have defense mechanism in periods of drought. Nitrate poisoning and prussic acid poisoning can be lethal to cattle. As producers we need to be aware of these potential dangers and be prepared to manage around them. Best of luck to you as you continue to make feed for your cows.

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