Cover Crop Grazing

September 18, 2016

During the summer & winter months, our native perennial grasses go dormant, reducing their nutritional value and palatability, providing challenges for our livestock to maintain healthy gains.

The soil is also subject to drought and freezing winds; As a newly recovering dormant soil we want to stimulate it with as much soil-surface cover, expansive root growth, and mineral cycling as we can.

Enter annual cover crops.

This 7 way mix (Cowpea, Sorgum Sudan (2 varieties), Daikon Radish, Pearl Millet, Sunflower, and Mustard) offers abundant bio-mass growth even through drought (and some nice shade for the cattle & sheep until they eat it down...see the photo). The diversity of species breaks through the root zone allowing for air & moisture penetration, as well as brings up various nutrients from the deep. Best of all, these species are highly palatable & digestible for the livestock. 

In the winter, we plant a 4 way winter annual cover with Titricale, Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch, Annual Ryegrass, and Daikon Radish. This provides lush spring feed, keeps the soil covered with foliage & living roots, and is absolutely stunning in the spring (see photo at the bottom, when we farrowed our piglets in this lush jungle...you might notice a piglet following our favorite sow, just in tow).

Sow-on-Cover-Crop.JPEG

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