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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333627

Title: Using grazing of cover crops as a means to improve soil health while providing forage in critical times of the year

item Franzluebbers, Alan

Submitted to: USDA NRCS Technical Notes
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/8/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This webinar will describe (a) moments of opportunity to integrate crop and livestock systems and (b) soil health responses from grazing of cover crops and perennial forages in diverse agricultural operations. Integrated crop-livestock systems are complex in form and in function – not only above-ground, but also below-ground. The input of carbon in integrated crop-livestock systems is often greater than in traditional cropping systems, the result of which leads to changes in soil microbial communities and nutrient dynamics. Rotation of cash crops with grazed cover crops and grazed perennial pastures can contribute to surface soil organic carbon and nitrogen accumulation. Active root growth for a longer period of time throughout the year results in greater rhizosphere activity and subsequent carbon mineralization and nutrient cycling. Unique soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in integrated crop-livestock systems will be explored in this presentation, as well as description of a simple biologically based measurement to assess nutrient cycling.