Carrington Research Extension Center


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Cover Crop Grazing


Cover crops offer the most immediate rewards to livestock producers since the forage can be grazed, offsetting the seed and planting expense. In 2019, the CREC initiated a large scale and comprehensive study to measure soil health, economic, and animal performance changes that occur with or without cattle grazing cover crops following cash crops. This study encompasses a wholistic approach to research with crops and livestock. The project is in the early stages of work, but already a lot has been done. For instance, baseline soil compaction measurements have been taken this spring using a combination of a handheld penetrometer and fuel efficiency data. Numerous soil samples have been taken this spring and already this fall to measure changes in nutrients and other soil properties. Cover crops have been planted in both wheat and corn for grazing later this fall. Fencing has also been put up on the wheat plots.

Brassicas and cereals seeded between corn rows on July 1 (pictured 2 weeks after planting).

On Tuesday, September 17th from 2-4 p.m., we will be hosting a workshop at the Carrington Research Extension Center to dive into the details of this study and cover the logistics of implementing cover crops in a livestock friendly manner. Some of the topics covered include equipment used to plant the cover crops, herbicide systems, crop selection, and livestock and fencing setup. This workshop is free of charge. We will start at the main office. Come join us for discussion and conversation with the research team!

Mike Ostlie, Ph. D.
Research Agronomist

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