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

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Dragline With Manure Assists Cover Crop Termination

No-Tillers from Perrysville, Ohio, utilize manure from their 650-cow dairy to maintain high-yielding double crops, and feed for their herd.
The practice of using a dragline on emerging corn began in 2019, due to the extremely wet weather rearranging the Ayers’ cover crop termination schedule. The termination date varies each year, thanks to several factors, including the custom spraying schedule, the weather and what herbicide program the Ayers are using. They typically use glyphosate and 2,4-D to terminate the cereal rye.
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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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Join top no-tillers, agronomists and researchers for 3 days of unrivaled learning and networking!

Attend the 2023 National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, January 10-13, and discover cutting-edge ideas, techniques and strategies from the most innovative, forward-thinking minds in no-till to raise your level of no-till profitability, efficiency and efficacy. 

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