Rotational Grazing Cover Crops

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

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Program awarded a grant in support of Sand County Foundation’s three-year project with four farmers in Wisconsin’s Baraboo River watershed. NCR-SARE offers competitive grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in the Midwest.

Graze Roger Bindl

“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.”

Graze Carly Huggins
University of Wisconsin graduate student, Carly Huggins, measuring saturated hydraulic conductivity.

“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.”

Olson Grazing Study
Sand County Foundation Field Projects Director, Greg Olson, collecting pre-grazed biomass samples from a relay cropped field.
Image0

Partners & Sponsors

expand_less