The objective of this project was to compile field data and
educate livestock producers on best management practices for cover crop
establishment for fall grazing in an effort to decrease feed costs and minimize
risk while also providing conservation and improved water quality benefits.
Eighteen cooperators were
interviewed regarding their experience with fall grazing cover crops. The information they shared was compiled into three publications utilized to teach about cover crops.
Four bus tours were held with 86 participants. The results were used in presentations at six different multi-state events delivered to 364 participants, as well as presentations for women in ag programs, soil health workshops, field days and forage conferences for 607 participants. It was featured in ISU beef and agronomy newsletters, blogs and social media posts. A cover crops resource page was added to the Iowa Beef Center website.
The follow up survey showed that 80% of respondents seeded cover crops in the last two years, on 49% of their row crop acres. Half the respondents drilled and half interseeded into existing stands. Only 25% shifted to using earlier maturing hybrids to seed cover crops earlier. 35% of acres were seeded with the intention of grazing both in the fall and spring, 18% for fall grazing only, and 10% for spring grazing only. 10% of acres seeded to cover crops were intended for mechanical harvest.