Colorado drought increases demand for corn stalk

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Many across the nation are suffering the effects from this year's drought, but some local corn farmers are benefiting from it.

The drought has caused prices for cattle feed, such as hay and alfalfa, to increase. As a result, the demand for a cheaper feed-- corn stalk-- has increased. At a time of year when many Olathe corn farmers are finished working for the season, some are choosing for the first time ever to bale corn stalk.

"More and more people are baling corn stalk at record levels," said John Harold with Tuxedo Corn Company in Olathe. "It has to do with supply and demand, and more people are choosing corn stalk because it reduces their cost to feed."

Wayne Maurer is among those baling corn stalk for the first time this year.

"This time of year there's usually not a whole lot to do so if you can make extra money doing corn stalk, you might as well," Maurer said.

Maurer said he's baled about 3,000 bales of corn stalk so far. Corn stalk previously wasn't profitable enough for corn farmers to bale it, but the increased demand and increased price of it this year has many corn farmers back at work.

"It's been a year of high prices... so there's a lot of people out there who are trying to find ways to less expensively feed their cattle," Harold said.

Though it's a cheaper option for feeding cattle, Harold said he's concerned about the lack of nutrition in corn stalk, which lacks the protein and carbohydrates of other feed. It becomes a viable source of feed if used as a filler and paired with a protein.

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