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.



Farming with Covers is Like ‘Playing Chess’

Minnesota grower Tom Cotter shares how he strategically uses cover crops, as well as tips on seeding varieties and successfully grazing livestock on covers.

Minnesota grower Tom Cotter shares how he strategically uses cover crops, as well as tips on seeding varieties and successfully grazing livestock on covers.

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Timing is Critical When Grazing Cover Crops

By grazing cover crops, farmers are adding to the established benefit of improved soil quality and other factors, says Denise Schwab, Iowa State University Extension beef specialist based in eastern Iowa. Prior to grazing in the fall, Schwab says to use the “pluck test” to check on root vigor.

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[Video] Lady the Cow Enjoys Cover Crops

Ever wonder what cows are doing when we're not looking? Watch this cow's-eye-view of cows exploring and chowing down on a cover crop. Cover crops are an exceptional farming tool to build soil health, stop erosion and retain soil moisture. As it turns out, cows are very fond of covers, too.
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NDSU: Test Forages for Nitrate Prior to Haying or Grazing

High temperatures combined with adequate moisture can impact plant metabolism and cause nitrate to build up in plants.

Frost, hail and disease can cause nitrates to accumulate due to reduced leaf area, which limits the rate of photosynthesis. The risk of nitrate toxicity also increases when high levels of nitrogen fertilizer have been applied.

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New Study Finds No Positive, Negative Impacts from Cover Crop Grazing

Winter grazing is a useful option for farmers who also raise livestock. They can feed them using cover crops they were going to plant anyway, a cost-efficient and sustainable practice. But how does winter grazing impact the soil underneath? Hayley Crowell, researcher at Auburn University, and her team worked to find out.

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Observations on Summer Cover Crops, Small Grains and Grazing Covers

Transitioning to organic, Noah Wendt and Caleb Akin are closely planning for success in three areas: nutrients for the following crop, weed control and grazing opportunities. In this article, from the Practical Farmers of Iowa, Noah and Caleb talk specifically about summer covers and a few new practices they're testing on their farm.

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