Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, November 20 at 12:00 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on grazing cover crops.
Cover crops provide many benefits ranging from reducing soil erosion and building soil organic matter to nutrient cycling and scavenging. Another additional benefit they offer is as an additional forage resource. During this webinar, Erika Lundy, Extension Beef Specialist, and Rebecca Vittetoe, Extension Field Agronomist, will share what they’ve learned from the ongoing research at ISU looking at integrating cattle, crops, and cover crops. Lundy’s current extension and research programs are focused on beef cattle nutrition and forage management to improve profitability on the farm level. Vittetoe focuses on the agronomic side with field and forage crop production and integrated pest management with a special emphasis on plant pathology.
Feed expenses continue to be half the cost of production of a beef cattle enterprise. If we are going to have cover crops growing across the sta te to protect our soil and waters, then adding cattle to graze those green forage acres is another opportunity to capitalize on the benefits that cover crops can provide us. Lundy and Vittetoe said, “One of our primary goals with this research was to answer the question ‘if we graze cover crops, do we still have the soil health benefits that we know we get from incorporating cover crops into row crop acres?’ With the results we are generating from this research, we think the answer is ‘yes!’”
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable.