This project evaluates economic and ecological impact of grazing and haying marginal-highly erodible land reseeded to perennial grasses and legumes. Nine-year average returns to land, labor and management for the three enterprises show a return to the cash crop of $4.28/acre, the grazing of reseeded marginal land $42.51/acre and haying of $22.84/acre. Long term research at CGREC evaluating grazing systems on native pastures show that 1.5 acres of good to excellent condition rangeland are needed to adequately maintain a cow and her calf for one month - one animal unit month (AUM). A nine-year economic comparison of grazing CRP stocked at 1.2 acres/AUM showed an average cost per AUM of $114.31. There are approximately 5.2 million acres of rangeland in the Coteau area of North Dakota. An estimated average of 1.75 acres per AUM are needed to maintain animal health and grassland productivity throughout the Coteau. This calculates to 2.97 million AUMs. At a cost of $114.31 per AUM, this translates to more than $339 million that is spent annually in communities and businesses throughout the Coteau area of North Dakota.
Paul E. Nyren, Director
Central Grasslands Research Extension Center
4824 48th Ave SE
Streeter, ND 58483