Drive along a Nebraska highway or county road during the winter months and one will see cattle grazing on corn stalks. The integration of Nebraska’s two largest agricultural sectors, corn and beef, has been shown to provide economic value for both sectors according to an economic assessment by professors in the Agricultural Economics, Agronomy, and Animal Science Departments at the University of Nebraska.
According to the authors, the most commonly reported corn residue grazing rental rate in Nebraska is $15 per acre. The authors estimate 53.5 percent of the state’s harvested corn acres are grazed, or roughly 4.8 million acres. Applying the average rental rate across the number of acres of grazed corn results in a revenue earned by those leasing corn acres of greater than $74 million. On the livestock side, 88 percent of the state’s beef cows graze on corn residue. Compared to grazing pasture, it is estimated grazing corn provides a value of $38.41 per head, or over $153 million in gross value returned to the beef cattle sector. However, this value does not account for the costs associated with grazing corn—rent, water, fence, and transportation. For more information, click here.