Forage that meets nutrient requirements throughout winter months is critical to raising beef cows. Generally, forage that contains crop residues like wheat straw, corn stalks and soybean residue is low quality, with total digestible nutrient (TDN) content ranging from 39 to 45%. Protein levels are low, typically around 3 to 5%.

However, researchers have found that grain sorghum residue is higher in TDN at 52 to 55% and crude protein at 5 to 7%. This means grain sorghum residue can meet cow requirements in late gestation, typically occurring in winter months. While vigilance for mold is always crucial, residue bales should also be sampled to determine nutrition value. Producers should also be aware of nitrate issues and make efforts to reduce feeding waste.

Read more on winter baled crop residue feeding for your beef herd here.