Economic Impact of Grazing Cover Crops in Cow-Calf Operations

Published Jan 4, 2018

In a Nutshell

Grazing cover crops can provide economic returns to farming operations within the same year cover crops are planted. This study is in its third year and is being conducted by farmers in the North Raccoon watershed who are participating in a Water Quality Initiative project. Utilizing cover crops as forage represents a win-win for livestock producers and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Key findings

Three cow-calf producers reported that over two years, cover crops provided up to 3.81 tons of dry matter per acre. Grazing cover crops offset winter feed expenses up to $40,192. Each farmer reaped economic benefits within the same year of planting the cover crops. Cost share was provided to each farmer, which contributed to profitability.