Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on October 12, 2011. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Bale peanuts, ratoon corn for hay with care
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Row crop producers interested in baling peanuts and ratoon corn to use as hay are being urged by Mississippi State University experts to be aware of chemical residues.
Rocky Lemus, forage specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said peanut hay is not labeled for animal consumption because of residual herbicides and pesticides that are not approved for forage production.
“Producers bailing corn need to be concerned about possible nitrate toxicity,” Lemus said. “We have received very little rain in the last three weeks, and those corn plants could be stressed, increasing the potential for nitrate accumulation.”
Nitrate concentration is highest in the lower part of the corn stalk or stem. Leaves, tassels and the upper stalk contain concentrations usually within safe levels for feeding, Lemus said.
“If drought-stressed corn is to be cut for cattle feed, and nitrate levels are known to be high, leave the bottom third of the stalk in the field, about 8 to 10 inches,” he said.
Lemus recommended producers test the harvested hay for nitrate levels before selling or feeding it, with samples taken from more than one bale.
Extension publication 2539 Hay Testing and Understanding Forage Quality can be found on this website. More information on forage-related disorders may also be downloaded or contact Rocky Lemus at (662) 325-7718.