Whether you have your own livestock or can partner with a neighbor who has livestock, you may find it profitable to incorporate grazing on some of your crop fields. Most often, this involves using cover crops to graze in late fall and/or early spring. Some of the “cereal grain” type cover crops such as cereal rye, triticale, or winter wheat work particularly well for grazing. Some farmers will use other cover crop species such as turnips in the fall or winter canola, while other farmers have found cover crop mixes to be beneficial. A popular approach for summer and early fall grazing is to harvest a winter or spring cereal crop for grain then follow with a diverse summer “cover crop cocktail” that will typically include a high biomass warm season annual grass like sorghum, sudangrass, or pearl millet along with other grasses, legumes, and brassicas. When cover crops are used on a field, it’s also easier to do grazing of buffer strips or other conservation plantings, getting economic value from a mixed set of biodiverse conservation plantings.
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