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Permalink Research Investigates Terminating Cover Crops with Sheep

Montana State University has completed a five-year project that investigated integrating sheep into organic farming systems, reports The Prairie Star. The sheep were used to terminate cover crops as an alternative to herbicides or tillage. Sheep were also useful for grazing weeds before and after planting and after harvest. The study also compared low-stock-density continuous grazing of sheep with high-stock-density rotational grazing. Sheep were more selective in the continuously grazed trials, and in some rotations they had trouble keeping up with forage growth. However, the researchers found that a system that used no-till planting and sheep to terminate cover crops made it possible to avoid tillage for 36 months before weed pressure grew too great. This would represent a monetary savings for farmers.

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