Well, I may have found the answer. When reading through Allan Nation's BLOG this morning I came across a post titled, "A Corn Plant for Grassfed Beef". You will have to scroll past the first couple of articles to get to it, but it was an interesting read for me because I could see its usefulness in our part of the country.
Here is the main idea from the article,
"Illinois research has found that when tropical varieties of corn are grown in the Midwest, the corn plant does not normally flower or produce grain. Instead, the plant concentrates sugars such as sucrose, fructose and glucose in its stalk and leaves."The University Illinois is researching this plant for its ethanol applications, but it could have a couple of large impacts on the grassfed grazing community also.
Number one, it would be a great source for finishing grassfed steers in the summer. It would give them plenty of growth nutrition to add the weight at a high enough rate for finishing, and according to USDA rules the cattle would still be grassfed because they ate the corn before grain was produced.
And, secondly it would work wonderfully as a winter stockpiled forage. In the tests the plant grew as tall as 16 feet. I think there would be plenty above the snow for grazing in the Midwest! This winter feeding ability could lead to raising completely grassfed grazing beef year around. Cutting out the hay is a major labor saver and if my Dad got to plant a little corn in the meantime it would just be a bonus.
This is just in the research phase right now, but it would be worth following. If you have any experience with cattle grazing corn stalks before it goes to grain I would be interested in hearing from you.