In a Nutshell
• Planting cover crops, then grazing or
harvesting them, is a practical way to
effectively reduce nutrient pollution,
plus provide economic benefits to
• This represents a win-win for livestock
producers and water quality for Iowa.
• Four farmers in northwest Iowa
reported that in the fall and winter of
2015, cover crops provided 0.07 to
3.74 tons of dry matter per acre.
• Grazing this cover saved farmers
$1,306 to $22,801 in hay or other
stored feed expenses
November 9, 2016
Feeding cows during the winter is
often expensive, requiring investment
in stored feeds like hay and extra labor
from the producer.
• In addition to the numerous benefits
of cover crops for row crop farmers,
livestock can graze the forage, providing
a high-quality and low-cost feed
during times of low feed supplies.
• Dave and Meg Schmidt planted cover
crops and grazed crop residues to reduce
expenses and keep their animals
out on pasture.
• Over three winter seasons, they have
maintained animal performance and
are starting to see reduced winter feed
• Planting cover crops and utilizing
crop residue in the late fall has
delayed the onset of regular hay
• Calf average daily gain over the
winter has improved over the years,
implying better nutrition, management,
• Feeding hay can be successfully offset
by cover crops and crop residues.
November 1, 2014
Are you keeping livestock through the drought? Hear from an experienced farmer on how to get through the winter and plan for next year. Learn how to build resilient soils with managed grazing and more.
November 27, 2012
February 6, 2008