Texas Research Highlights Benefits of Grazing Cover Crops
|Related ATTRA Publication:
Livestock as a Tool: Improving Soil Health, Boosting Crops
Research led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research environmental soil scientist Paul DeLaune showed the benefits that producers can get by grazing cover crops planted in no-till systems. DeLaune evaluated the results of planting and grazing multi-species mixed cover crops on the cotton and wheat crops that follow them in rotation. The study showed that cover crops could be grazed without impacting their ability to provide soil-health benefits. DeLaune highlighted three potential opportunities to graze cover crops: supplemental grazing on warm-season cover crops in the summer; fall grazing of early-planted, cool-season cover crops; and spring graze-out of cool-season cover crops. Economic analysis indicated that grazing summer cover crops could increase net return per acre by as much as $38 to $44 compared to non-grazed cover crops. Furthermore, the soil with cover crops captured more water in rainfall events.