"Our goal is to help producers identify which feedstuffs and delivery methods best fit their operation, resulting in the lowest possible feed cost for their operation and the most profitability," Shike said. "This will vary whether they are a smaller or larger operation. Regardless, producers have options and can increase their profitability using combinations of co-products."

Despite the heat, it's time to start planning winter feeding strategies, he said.

"If you decide to wait until February to decide to feed cornstalks, they will be hard to find," Shike said. "Now is a great time to contact area corn producers to identify who will have cornstalk bales for purchase. It appears we are on track for a substantially earlier harvest which will allow for a nice window to bale high-quality cornstalks this fall."

It's also a good time to price co-products depending on what you have available for storage, he added. Prices tend to go up in the winter, and it's best to have stored feeds in order before the winter sets in.

This research article, "Comparison of Corn Co-products and Corn Residue Bales with Alfalfa Mixed Hay on Beef Cow-Calf Performance, Lactation, and Feed Costs," appeared in the August issue of The Professional Animal Scientist.

Researchers included Taylor Braungardt, Dan Shike, Nathan Post and Dan Faulkner of the U of I, and Kip Karges and Matt Gibson of Dakota Gold Research Association. All co-products used in the first experiment were donated by Dakota Gold Research Association.