Cattlemen get tips to deal with forage shortage

By Tom Lollis

The prolonged drought is causing shortages of grazing and hay for cattlemen. Until conditions improve, they are being urged to bale residues from corn and soybeans as feed.

“Baled corn stalks and soybean straw are not nutrient dense, but they’re filling and can really help in the short term,” said John Irwin, Extension animal scientist, at the Edisto Research & Education Center field day in Blackville.

Producers could also consider feeding composted poultry litter combined with cracked or ground corn during an emergency. Beef cattle can covert the nitrogen in the litter into essential amino acids.

John Andrae, Extension forages specialist, said cattlemen should plant small grains in the fall – such as rye, ryegrass and oats – to provide feed for winter and early spring. He said pastures in many parts of South Carolina, particularly the Piedmont, are suffering from drought stress.

The field day drew approximately 350 participants, who also heard the latest research news on peanuts, precision agriculture, cotton, soybeans, watermelons, pumpkins and peppers.

For more information: John Irwin, 864-984-2514,; John Andrae, 864-656-3504,