GRAZING DIVERSE COVER CROPS: NEW FINDINGS, RESOURCES, AND LESSONS LEARNED

Project Summary

Between 2014 and 2018, the Wallace Center’s Pasture Project initiative worked in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, Sustainable Farming Association, and Land Stewardship Project to assess and promote the economic and soil health benefits of grazing diverse cover crops with cattle under adaptive, high stock density management. Funded by a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant, the project worked with eight farms in Minnesota and Iowa to gather data, offer field days, and create farmer-focused resources on grazing cover crops.

Creating resources. At the start of this project, a lack of resources on grazing cover crops was identified as a barrier to adoption. Through this project, a comprehensive how-to guide, a series of instructional videos featuring the cooperating farmers and leading experts, and a series of webinars have been developed. You can watch our video series and webinars below. You can read our press release on this work by clicking here.

Building the case. This project collected and analyzed economic and soil health datasets over three years that compare control plots (use of cover crops and winter grazing in cash crop rotations) and treatment (cash crop rotations without cover crops or winter grazing) on 8 cooperating farms in Minnesota and Iowa. Trial results indicate that the incorporation of diverse cover crops and adaptive livestock grazing can result in incremental improvements in soil fertility and biology and can result in significant cost savings from forage production and improved soil fertility. See our results below, including a Technical Bulletin and the Full Trial Report.

Grazing Cover Crops Video Tutorials

Grazing Cover Crops Webinars

  • Grazing Cover Crops How-To Guide

    Read Pasture Project’s new how-to guide on grazing cover crops – focused on helping farmers get started with the practice to leverage soil health and economic benefits through winter livestock grazing. Develop in partnership with the Land Stewardship Project, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Sustainable Farming Association.
    Click here to download the guide.

  • Technical Bulletin: Benefits of Planting and Grazing Diverse Cover Crops

    Read Pasture Project’s new technical bulletin on our 3-year grazing cover crop trial in Minnesota and Iowa, conducted with our partners at Land Stewardship Project, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Sustainable Farming Association.
    Click here to download the bulletin.

  • Full Trial Report: Benefits of Planting and Grazing Diverse Cover Crops

    Read the full results of the recent grazing cover crops trial conducted by the Pasture Project,  Land Stewardship Project, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Sustainable Farming Association.
    Click here to download the results.