Drought Forces Farmers to Feed Cattle Corn Stalks

Saturday, November 24, 2012
By Paul Martin

Mo. farmers sell corn stalks for cattle feed

November 22, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO. • Prolonged drought is prompting some Midwest farmers to sell corn stalks, which they typically would treat as waste, to feed hungry, hay-deprived cattle.
The Columbia Missourian has reported that corn farmers are collecting stalks that usually are left in fields. The leftover stalks are known as corn stover.

A market summary compiled by the Missouri Department of Agriculture shows that corn stover is selling in the state for $60 to $100 per ton, or $35 to $45 per large round bale. The state agency didn’t even track corn stover sales prices until this year. The prices are not covered by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, whose director says corn stover isn’t typically considered a farm commodity.

“If you look at corn stover historically, it has really come into play this year,” said Gary Wheeler, vice president of operations and grower services at the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “It has really helped out the corn growers and the cattle industry.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest weekly report shows that 60.1 percent of the continental U.S. was experiencing some degree of drought on Tuesday, the country’s most widespread and sustained drought in decades. Nearly one-fifth of the contiguous U.S. remained in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst classifications.

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