Cover crops can improve soil health, help reclaim salty land, use excess water and reduce soil loss from wind erosion by providing cover on unseeded ground.
They also can add diversity in cropping systems, and reduce iron deficiency in soybeans and wind damage to young sugar beet plants.
“In addition to these benefits, cows love them, so interseeding cover crops into standing corn and soybean, then grazing the cover crops a month or so after the corn/soybean harvest is a great way to add gain to cows with minimal investment,” says North Dakota State University Extension Service soil science specialist Dave Franzen.
Now producers who have cover crops available for grazing can connect with producers who are interested in having their livestock graze cover crops. Those with cover crops can post them on NDSU’s FeedList website, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/feedlist. Farmers and ranchers needing a place for their livestock to graze on cover crops also can indicate what they are looking for on the FeedList site.
“Cover crops are not only an excellent resource for soil health, but also for grazing,” says Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension soil health specialist. “If we can connect farmers who are using cover crops for soil health-related goals with those who have cattle and are looking for a grazing resource, that’s a win.”
NDSU developed the FeedList to connect farmers and ranchers who have feedstuff such as hay or corn for sale or to donate with those needing the feed. The FeedList also includes information on needed and available feedlots, those needing feedstuffs hauled or willing truckers.
Using the FeedList is free of charge.
Anyone wanting to participate in a cover crop exchange should complete the online form on the FeedList website. Those needing entry help should contact a county office of the NDSU Extension Service (https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/directory/counties).
“When cover crop availability and need meet, the two parties can visit regarding fencing, water availability and anything else relevant to the transaction,” Franzen says.
All FeedList entries will be deleted automatically after 90 days. Buyers and sellers who no longer need the FeedList’s services before that should contact the FeedList coordinator, Elizabeth Cronin, at [email protected] to have the entry removed.
Visit the NDSU Extension Service’s soil health website at https://www.ndsu.edu/soilhealth to learn more about the benefits of cover crops. Also, Extension is hosting a workshop Aug. 15 at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge in Havana on incorporating cover crops, perennials and oil seed cash crops. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration information is available on the soil health website.