Grazing

Grazing cover crops can be a very profitable enterprise for cover crop users who are willing to do the management. This topic provides strategies for cover crop grazing and real-world examples with farmers and ranchers who are making the practice work on their farm. Grazing cover crops has the potential to improve not only animal health but soil health as well.

ARTICLES

Cover Crops: Insurance for a Wet Spring?

Joe Gardiner of Clearwater, Manitoba, has an insurance policy against a wet spring next year. Gardiner is one of a growing number of Manitoba farmers to embrace cover crops, having started the practice several years ago in an effort to increase fall grazing.
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Timing Key When Grazing Cover Crops

Grazing can provide many benefits to your operation such as producing feed for livestock, lengthening the grazing season, and producing a second crop off of your corn and soybean acres; however, implementing grazing requires planning. One thing to consider is the time of year your livestock will be utilizing this additional grazing and what cover crops make the most sense for your operation.
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Iowa Operation Enhances Soil Health with Cover Crops

A long-time no-tiller, Bo Fox, Monona County, Iowa, has expanded his crop management from no-tilling corn and soybeans to including crop rotations with small grains, cover crops, and livestock grazing of cover crops. While Bo has experimented with cover crops in the past, he recently worked with USDA’s NRCS to obtain planning and financial assistance to grow a diverse cover crop mix suitable for spring livestock grazing.
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Fall Cover Grazing Opportunities Limited

A wet summer and late start to silage harvest likely cut into cover crop production this year. Patrick Wall, Iowa State University Extension beef specialist based in Knoxville, Iowa, says grazing availability will likely depend on planting dates. Read more in this article from KMA Radio.
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Soil Erosion, Water Quality Improved from Grazing & Cover Crops

Preventing soil erosion and nutrient runoff, and improving water quality are issues that are important to farmers, elected officials and the general public. Derrick Raspor, soil conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, demonstrated the effects of different cropping systems on surface and ground water during a recent field day hosted by Rachel Bouressa on the Bouressa Family Farm. Read more in this article from the Wisconsin State Farmer.
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Considerations When Harvesting Covers for Forage

For those who planted small grains, in particular oats, on prevented plant acres with the intention of harvesting for supplemental forage, that harvest time is approaching. Some questions regarding rust and potential nitrate toxicity have been raised in the context of the approaching harvest. Read more in this article from This Week Community News (Columbus, Ohio).
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Attend the 2020 National Strip-Tillage Conference

Join the most innovative, forward-thinking strip-till farmers, agronomists and researchers today at the 7th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference in Omaha, Neb., August 6-7, 2020. Discover practical cover cropping techniques and hundreds of proven ideas to boost your strip-till yields and save on input costs.

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