Long-term research at CGREC has shown that seeding marginal-highly erodible land to grass and grazing it with beef cattle can return an average profit to land and management of $39.74 per acre versus $3.63 per acre for the same type of land producing a small grain crop. More than three million acres of marginal-highly erodible land in North Dakota have been reseeded to perennial grass in the past 12 years through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). If 50% of these acres remain in grass for grazing, the increase to the North Dakota economy would total $54 million.
This study was originally designed to assist Coteau area producers in making the difficult decision of whether to hay, graze, or crop marginal-highly erodible land when the CRP contracts expired. However, information gained from this study also pertains to land being reseeded to introduced perennial grasses and used for haying or grazing. The project compares the following enterprises:
1. Annual crop farming
2. Grazing marginal-highly erodible land
3. Haying marginal-highly erodible land