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He Treats Stover To Improve Its Feed Value
Duane Kristensen is constantly on the lookout for innovative products and new ideas. He’s a farmer, a beef producer and general manager of Chief Ethanol in Hastings, Neb. The facility produces 62 million gal. of ethanol and more than a half million tons of dried distillers grain annually.
  In the fall of 2012, Kristensen participated in a demonstration project where calcium hydroxide was applied to corn stover to increase its value as livestock feed. One of his cornfields was harvested with a New Holland 99C combine equipped with a Cornrower under the header. As the combine passed through the field, the Cornrower deposited stover in a single row. Kristensen says the grain was 17 percent moisture at harvest and the stalks were at about 35 percent moisture.
  Behind the combine, a tractor pulled a dry fertilizer spreader and applied calcium hydroxide, also known as quicklime, to the stover. Water was applied after the quicklime pass to reduce dusting and moisten the quicklime so it would begin to breakdown the stover fiber. Next, a forage harvester chopped the treated stover, which was then trucked to Kristensen’s nearby feedlot. There the treated stover was unloaded into a bunker and more water was added until the moisture content of the material was almost 50 percent. The material was packed like a normal silage pile and Kristensen waited five days before feeding the material. During that time, the ensiling process raised the pile temperature to 120 degrees, and then it cooled back to the ambient temperature in three days.
  Although the demonstration required several trips to get treated stover in the bunker, Kristensen was pleased with the results. “The treated stover was darker than regular corn stalks and almost looked like silage. The ration we fed the cattle had 25 percent treated stover mixed with some dry hay and about 50 percent wet distillers grain. The cattle ate it real well,” says Kristensen. He thinks that treated stover could be used for finishing cattle if corn was added in as an energy source.
  Research at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (UNL) has shown that quicklime treated stover can make up 20 percent of a fat cattle ration and in the process replace about 15 percent of the corn.
  “The nutritional value of this product is very good,” Kristensen says, “the cattle ate it well and didn’t push it around in the bunk looking for smaller grain particles.”
  Kristensen thinks the overall concept has merit, especially if the treating and collection process can be done in fewer passes. “It costs money to run equipment across the field, and making three passes along with trucking to the feedlot is on the high end of the cost curve. If that can be simplified and made more cost effective, then it’s definitely going to be something that a lot of people will be interested in.”
  UNL has tested an alternative approach where stover is baled, ground in a tub grinder and the quicklime and water are applied as ground material goes onto a pile. Other testing is being done with collaboration between Monsanto, ADM, agricultural schools and farm cooperators. Kristensen says all of this activity is good because it’s focused on finding extra value in corn. “Right now in my operation corn grain goes to the ethanol plant, stover goes to the feedlot, distillers grain goes to the feedlot and manure from the cattle goes back on the land. The grain is making feed, fuel, food and fertilizer and it doesn’t get any better than that.”   
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Duane Kristensen, Chief Ethanol Fuel, 4225 East South St., Hastings, Neb. 68901 (ph 402 463-6885).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2