green cornstalks for feed

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by swollen tongue, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    I understand that green cornstalks for cattle feed are sometimes high in nitrates, which is poisonous in high concentrations to cattle. the higher up the stalk, the less nitrates. Can I feed some of them every other day to the cattle as part of their feed or is this too risky? I don't have any way of testing the cornstalks, which are from the garden. I have been given three cattle a wheelbarrow full of stalks about every other day, until I heard about the nitrate thing. anybody have any info on this?
    thanks!
     
  2. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    My gal used to eat them as treats. I still gave her hay and grain as usual. I only had one cow, but would give her and the goats (gueaa who ate 9/10 of them) an armful a day. It never did her any harm.
     

  3. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    I will make a guess that you dont have a huge amount of stalks coming out of the garden. (When I say a huge amount I am talking about tons, which is how you measure silage.)

    Nitrates can be higher this year, based on what weather you had. Drought will cause a build up, and they can get high after the first rain or two breaking a drought.

    You can feed some additional vitamin A that will help offset it.

    With all that said, I would feed stalks out of a garden without any fears.
     
  4. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Didn't know about this. Been feeding cornstalks from garden for years without problem, but now I have to start worrying. Darn! I feed a couple armfuls daily to the equivalent of one cow (two small cattle).

    Actually, I don't think I'll worry much, as I assume unless it's the bulk of their diet, probably not a concern. The dose makes the poison. I feed hay, lawn grass, cornstalks, bean plants, apples, quart of grain, etc - spoiled cows.
     
  5. Beststash

    Beststash Well-Known Member

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    I have been feeding my cows the corn stalks from my garden for years. I don't give them it all at once but like Christina said they consider it a treat. The amount you are talking is not a lot - do they clean it up when you feed them? if so, don't worry about it.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    My neighbor is a dairy farmer and he has/had a small field, 8 to 10 acres in corn, adjacent to the barn and his entire herd (100+) managed to let themselves out and accessed the green field of corn. They ate most of the night and there was no consequence other than the field was trampled. I would not hesitate to feed arm fulls of corn to the family cow.
     
  7. widfam

    widfam Well-Known Member

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    I have 3 cows and feed them about 2 pick-up truck loads a week of corn stalks that I get from the neighbor down the road. I drag a couple of arm fulls to them about twice a day as an extra to their grass and hay plus they get some grain in the morning and evening (they are spoiled). I have not had any problems.
     
  8. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the replies.......... I feed them (3 total) about an armful every other day, along with the pasture and hay. Feeding them some stalks as part of their total feed intake I figured would not hurt them, although I checked out on some Ag websites that if this is their total feeds, then there should be concerns. According to it, 2100 ppm of nitrates in the stalk is the danger zone. If they did get poisoning, it takes 30 min. to 3 hours after ingestion of the stalks to kill them. Nitrates basically cuts off their oxygen supply in the blood, as it turns to nitrites in the rumen.
    I hope I didn't scare anyone about this, but a cow man was telling me about this and it does occur in cattle and ruminents from what I understand.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Should not be a problem if it is a lower % of their feed. Something to worry about if it is the main portion of their feed.

    It is a worse issue in drought years, esp if you have no kernals or ears produced on the cornstalk. Once the kermals are filling out on a normal ear in a normal rainfall year, you have much less chance of a problem.

    Every other day, & not even 1/2 their feed it sounds like on those days - you have nothing to worry about.

    --->Paul
     
  10. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    Do you put liquid nitrogen on your garden corn (besides perhaps some manure)? Most people don't. The nitrate poisoning comes from corn that had nitrogen put on it in the spring (normaly field corn) and then a drought comes along where the corn does not take up the nitrogen correctly, and then normally a rain comes along causing the corn to take up a lot of the remaining nitrogen very quickly. So normally, most people would not have a problem with garden corn at all. They might have a problem with field corn (which had a lot of nitrogen put on it) if there is a drought followed by rain late in the season.
     
  11. swollen tongue

    swollen tongue Well-Known Member

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    I put 26% nitrogen lawn food on it when it was about 6 inches high, but it was watered good and no drought.
     
  12. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    You should be fine with it then.