After this summer's drought caused a forage shortage for cattle producers across Nebraska, many are venturing into grazing cornstalks for the first time. This raises questions not only about pricing, but also the responsibilities renters have during grazing.
Factors such as fencing and animal care can affect price, along with distance and number of animals, according to Matt Stockton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln ag economist at the West Central Research and Extension Center near North Platte.
The Cornstalk Grazing Cow-Q-Lator is a tool that can help both corn and cattle producers determine a reasonable rate, Stockton says.
"The tool is designed for cattle producers to evaluate costs of cornstalk grazing," Stockton says. "However, it could be used by a corn producer to calculate how much a prospective lessee can pay."
The Cow-Q-Lator takes many of these effects into account to determine the price of renting acres. This Microsoft Excel spreadsheet includes entries for number and size of animals, transportation costs as well as for care and supervision, according to Stockton.
"Corn producers will find that the farther they are from the cattle's home, the less their stalks are worth," Stockton says. "However, they may be able to provide animal care and supervision and reduce the owner's costs."
Rent may be higher, for example, if the owner of the property builds the fence around the grazing area. Producers can also use the Cow-Q-Lator to the point at which
the cost of transportation exceeds cost of lease. With the Cow-Q-Lator, both lessor andlessee can play around and figure out the best deal.
Stockton can be reached by phoning 308-696-6713.