Rotational Grazing Cover Crops

Sand County Foundation is demonstrating the conservation and economic benefits of rotational grazing livestock on cover crops.

A grant by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Program supports Sand County Foundation’s three-year project with four farmers in Wisconsin’s Baraboo River watershed.

“By gathering feedback from experienced graziers in an environmentally-sensitive region, these case studies will help reduce the trial and error of grazing cover crops for farmers elsewhere,” said Dr. Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation’s Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation. “We will demonstrate that grazing cover crops positively impacts soil health, nutrient runoff reduction, and feed cost efficiency.”

The four experienced graziers participating in the project are members of the Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group (SSWIG). Dr. Randy Jackson with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Agronomy is another key partner in the project titled, “Onto Greener Pastures with Rotational Grazing and Cover Crops.”

“I have already seen the benefits of introducing cattle to row crop rotations, but I am looking forward to having actual soil health data” said Ron Schoepp, owner and operator of Schoepp Farms.

“By gathering feedback from experienced graziers in an environmentally-sensitive region, these case studies will help reduce the trial and error of grazing cover crops for farmers elsewhere,” said Dr. Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation’s Vice President of Agricultural Research and Conservation.

“The introduction of livestock is one of the five principles of soil health,” Peterson noted. “We will demonstrate that grazing cover crops positively impacts soil health, nutrient runoff reduction, and feed cost efficiency.”

For more than 50 years, Sand County Foundation has evaluated and demonstrated conservation practices with farmers, ranchers, foresters and businesses. These efforts produce clean water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Sand County Foundation has considerable experience in the Baraboo River watershed, having spearheaded the initiative to remove old and unsafe dams and return the river to a free flowing condition in 2001.

Olson Grazing Study
Sand County Foundation Field Projects Director, Greg Olson, collecting pre-grazed biomass samples from a relay cropped field.

NCR-SARE awarded more than $2.9 million to 13 projects in a competitive grant program for researchers and educators. NCR-SARE is one of four regional offices that run the SARE program, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture.

NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.

FARMER PROFILES

Meet Roger Bindl

Meet Ron Bula

Meet Ron Schoepp

Meet Darren Yanke

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