McNay Research and Demonstration Farm
The highest cost to beef cow-calf producers is the feeding of stored feeds in winter months. To lower feed costs, many producers will try to extend the grazing season into the winter. The primary resource for winter grazing in the Midwest is corn crop residues. On the average, corn crop residue grazing will reduce the amount of hay needed to maintain cows by approximately one-half ton per acre grazed over the winter. Although crop residue grazing is quite effective in reducing feed costs, some producers are concerned that corn residue grazing will have an adverse effect on soybean yields the following year resulting from soil compaction. It has already been proven that the use of large machinery will cause soil compaction in wet conditions and that it reduces corn grain yields from 6 to 10%. Furthermore, an increase in soil bulk density can occur in pastures overstocked in wet conditions. The purpose of this study is to determine if corn residue grazing has any effect on soil properties; and if so, when does this occur, and will it cause a reduction of grain crop yield in subsequent years.
Iowa State University
Clark, Justin; Russell, James R.; Karlen, Douglas; Busby, Darrell; Secor, L. James; Peterson, Brian; Pellack, Larry; Olsen, Carroll; and Shouse, Shawn C., "Effects of Corn Crop Residue Grazing on Soil Physical Properties and Subsequent Soybean Production in a Corn-Soybean Crop Rotation (A Progress Report)" (2001). Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. 1743.