BATTLE CREEK, NE — There’s corn on the ground in Bob Pollack’s field.
That is not good news.
“First, if it’s not in the bin, it’s not bushels and it’s not money in the pocket,” Pollack said.
But the problem isn’t contained to Pollack’s field. Northeast Nebraska was hit with devastating winds all of last week, with three days warranting severe wind advisories from the National Weather Service.
Pollack, who is and agronomist with Farmers Pride in Battle Creek, says this year’s wind damage is as bad as any year he can remember.
“I have seen individual fields that have been down flat,” Pollack said. “But for an overall large-scale area, this is probably one of the worst that I’ve seen.”
He says they’ve seen both stalk breakage and ear droppage, meaning the ear disconnects from the stalk and falls to the ground. He has heard of fields with as much as 40 bushels per acre on the ground.
Pollack says what happened this year effects which hybrids to pick for next year.
“So we do want to choose something with good stalk strength, good ear retention,” Pollack said. “Just hybrid selection, good fertility program.”
But there’s another side to his problem, too. With all the corn on the ground, how do you prevent cattle from overeating when you let them in? Livestock Consultant Chad Schomberg has some ideas.
“There’s a couple of things we can do. We can acclimate the cows to corn,” Schomberg said. “We can go out and feed three, four, five and work them up to 10 or 12 pounds before we turn them out. Then the cows won’t be as new to them to want to run out and just eat all the corn that’s eating out there.”
He also says you could fill the cattle up before turning them out, send them out at dusk, put out a lick tub or give them access to plenty of high quality grass hay.
If you don’t, there are problems if the cows overeat.
“When a cow does go out there and she does overeat on corn, what we see is acidosis,” Schomberg said. “Acidosis on a cow – worst case scenario, can kill the cow.”
The severe winds have calmed down this week, but Pollack and Schomberg both recommend that farmers with questions on how to handle the damage call Farmers Pride.