Person: Wesley Degner

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Grazing cover crops can provide economic
returns to farming operations
within the same year cover crops are
• This study is in its third year and is
being conducted by farmers in the
North Raccoon watershed who are
participating in a Water Quality Initiative
• Utilizing cover crops as forage represents
a win-win for livestock producers
and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction
Key findings:
• Three cow-calf producers reported
that over two years, cover crops
provided up to 3.81 tons of dry
matter per acre.
• Grazing cover crops offset winter
feed expenses up to $38,953.
• Each farmer reaped economic
benefits within the same year of
planting the cover crops.
• Cost share was provided to each
farmer, which contributed to profitability.

January 4, 2018 


In a Nutshell
• Planting cover crops, then grazing or
harvesting them, is a practical way to
effectively reduce nutrient pollution,
plus provide economic benefits to
cattle owners.
• This represents a win-win for livestock
producers and water quality for Iowa.
Key findings
• Four farmers in northwest Iowa
reported that in the fall and winter of
2015, cover crops provided 0.07 to
3.74 tons of dry matter per acre.
• Grazing this cover saved farmers
$1,306 to $22,801 in hay or other
stored feed expenses

November 9, 2016