I’m curious to find out how many of you have had experience with livestock and grazing cover crops?
I am working with a producer who is in his second year of planting cover crops specifically to extend his grazing season into the winter. Following wheat harvest he is seeding a 14 species warm season mix directly into the stubble.
Last year he inter-seeded Red Clover into winter wheat in early summer. Once wheat was harvested he was able to graze twice last year, and once this year before inter-seeding the 14 species mix into that field as well a couple weeks ago.
Livestock were out-wintered on the cover crop mix last year. The producer estimated that from December to February his 60 head got about 1800 lbs of feed per day from grazing the cover through the snow. He supplied hay bales as well throughout the winter, but livestock preferred the covers if they could get to them.
I would like to find out if anyone has attempted something similar of is considering trying something similar? What’s worked? What hasn’t? Any changes you would make? What kinds of Dry Matter yields are you getting going into the winter?
Hi Derrick, if farmers can find a way to be successful at grazing cover crops, it sounds like there could be a lot of potential. What mechanism did the farmer use to inter-seed into the winter wheat? Is the 14 species mix made up of only species that overwinter?
Red Clover was broadcast into the standing wheat in June. He has a broadcast attachment for his UTV, that he drove through the standing wheat. Germination was slow in the standing wheat, but once harvested the red clover took off nicely.
The 14 species mix was all designed to winter-kill. It was a warm season dominated mix, so most of the planting was dead once frost arrived. Being a relatively mild winter last year, the kale surprisingly stayed green most of the winter.