Tips for Winter Grazing

Silage Corn
Western Canada

Characteristics of a good grazing hybrid:

  • Early silage hybrids are the best option for winter grazing.
  • Choose hybrids that will reach 50% milk at first killing frost. 
  • Select hybrids that produce high forage yields and high digestibility.
  • Choose hybrids with known standability. 

Paddock Management 

  • Use a high-quality electric fence to partition off your corn field.
  • In the beginning, slowly introduce your herd to corn.
  • Limit exposure and supplement with hay until the cows start to become comfortable.
  • Limit cows to three or four days of feed at a time. This limits their ability to overindulge on cobs and ensures they clean up the stalks. It also minimizes the risk of potentially life-threatening rumen acidosis
  • Clear alleyways for your fence. This allows the cattle to move through the paddock in the initial turnout.
  • Having a shelter for the herd is ideal; it can be bush or a portable windbreaker shelter.
  • Access to soft fresh snow or a viable water source is a MUST.

Agronomy tips

  • Take whole plant samples to ensure you know what nutrients your cows are getting.
  • Watch for signs of grain overload during years of full cob development as cows eat the cobs first and come back for stalks afterwards.
  • Wait for the cattle to clean up stalks before moving them to the next paddock.
  • Wait until ground is firm/frozen as this will minimize the loss of feed that is trampled and lost in the mud.
  • Always have a supply of back-up feed. Heavy snow or extreme cold and bad weather can add challenges to the cattle grazing.
  • Plant two or three different hybrids spread over your maturity range. This allows for you to spread out your maturity and acres for a given area.

PRIDE Seeds Best Grazing Hybrids

PRIDE Seeds Grazing ProductsCorn Heat Units (CHUs)Hybrid Characteristics
AS 1017RR EDF2150Earliest, tall, staygreen, excellent health.
A4705HMRR2225High moisture, strong stalks, benchmark.
A4646G2 RIB2300New, healthy staygreen, traits for corn borer.
A4939G2 RIB2400Traited for corn borer, high yielder, corn on corn.
AS1037RR EDF2450Tall, very good vigour, excellent stalks, excellent feed quality.


Why winter grazing is a win, win

  • No need to start your tractor in harsh cold conditions.
  • No manure management; it’s already in the field.
  • Winter grazing can provide beef cattle with a high-quality nutrient source into mid and late stages of pregnancy.
  • Minimal summer feed harvesting is needed.

Acres of corn needed

  • Plan for 200 cow days per acre of corn.
  • Acres required for 200 cows for 30 days of grazing:
  • 200 cows X 30 days = 6,000 cow grazing days required.
  • 6,000 cow grazing days / 200 cow days per acre = 30 acres corn.
  • Insert your own numbers for your specific farm needs.

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