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Are you grazing cover crops this spring, or plan to in the fall? If so, it’s important to check and see if your corn or bean herbicides have grazing restrictions. Some common herbicides do not allow for grazing of cover crops or crop residue.
If you’re grazing covers this spring, look back at what herbicides you applied to those fields in 2016. If you’re planning on planting and grazing covers in crop fields in the late summer, plan your upcoming herbicide application appropriately. Before you spray, read labels to ensure it’s safe to use your cover crops (and your crop residue) as livestock feed.
With the help of colleagues at Green Lands Blue Waters, I’ve compiled two factsheets – one on corn herbicides and one on soybean herbicides, that list commonly used herbicides along with cover crop planting options and grazing/feeding restriction language taken directly from the herbicide labels. If your herbicide is not listed, you can look up the label using the CDMS database.
Iowa State University has also recently published an updated version of their factsheet titled, “Herbicide use may restrict grazing options for cover crops” which details how many months you have to wait to establish cover crops for grazing after applying certain herbicides.
Be aware that there may be risk of residual herbicides in meat and milk products if grazing cover crops following corn or beans where herbicides have been applied. Double check your labels!