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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333624

Research Project: Strategies to Predict and Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Variability on Soil, Plant, Animal, and Environmental Interactions

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Grazing cover crops in cropland

Author
item Dubeux, Jose - University Of Florida
item Warren, Jason - Oklahoma State University
item Franzluebbers, Alan

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/6/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cover crops are an important component of conservation agricultural systems in the southeastern USA. For some producers with extensive experience using cover crops, grazing can be a ‘next step’ in obtaining additional economic value while achieving environmental stewardship. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of forage value of annual cover crops, timing of grazing, method of grazing to obtain best utilization, balance between forage quantity and quality, impacts on soil, and whole-farm production. Balancing production and environmental quality is a topic to be explored throughout. Potential benefits of grazing cover crops will be described from immediate return from livestock gain, but also from productivity of following crops. Nutrient cycling issues will be addressed in grazed and non-grazed systems. Utilization of small grains as a dual crop for forage and grain is a key system in the Southern Great Plains and this system will be explored in detail. Soil organic matter changes with repeated use of cover crops will be reported. Challenges for land managers to develop integrated crop-livestock systems will be explored. Specific examples will be shown from different areas of the southern region.

Technical Abstract: Cover crops are an important component of conservation agricultural systems in the southeastern USA. For some producers with extensive experience using cover crops, grazing can be a ‘next step’ in obtaining additional economic value while achieving environmental stewardship. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of forage value of annual cover crops, timing of grazing, method of grazing to obtain best utilization, balance between forage quantity and quality, impacts on soil, and whole-farm production. Balancing production and environmental quality is a topic to be explored throughout. Potential benefits of grazing cover crops will be described from immediate return from livestock gain, but also from productivity of following crops. Nutrient cycling issues will be addressed in grazed and non-grazed systems. Utilization of small grains as a dual crop for forage and grain is a key system in the Southern Great Plains and this system will be explored in detail. Soil organic matter changes with repeated use of cover crops will be reported. Challenges for land managers to develop integrated crop-livestock systems will be explored. Specific examples will be shown from different areas of the southern region.