Putting beef cows out to tramp through the snow to graze standing corn has become more popular in the last few years. It’s relatively low-cost forage which can make up a sizeable portion of a pregnant cow’s overwinter diet because whole corn plants (with ears) can provide a significant amount of dietary energy and protein.
Since nutrient supplements may be required later on as beef cows approach calving, producers might conduct a midwinter review to assure herd nutrient requirements are met until calving.
In any given year, the nutrient value of standing corn is high in dietary energy and similar in protein when compared to other common low-cost forages.
Corn residue after grain corn harvest is very comparable to barley straw, so it makes sense that standing corn with a full ear of corn would be similar in nutrient value to an unharvested barley crop with whole kernels still in the head.
While it is widely accepted that corn grazing will take care of energy needs, the corn is still short on dietary protein, given that it contains only about seven to eight per cent protein.