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Opportunities for Swath Grazing in South Dakota

Updated September 01, 2022
Professional headshot of Sara Bauder

Sara Bauder

SDSU Extension Forage Field Specialist

Written collaboratively by Cody Zilverberg, Dwayne Beck and Sara Bauder

Modified from the version that originally appeared in Forage Focus. Reprinted with permission from the Midwest Forage Association.

In northern climates, the opportunity to grow cover crops after grain harvest is limited by the short growing season. However, when moisture is adequate in central SD, cover crops of 2,000 – 3,000 lb./ac. can be grown after winter wheat is harvested in July. These crops can be baled; however, grazing them in the field saves time and money by eliminating baling and hauling bales. In addition, when grazed in the field rather than fed in a feedlot, nutrients are distributed throughout the field in the form of urine and dung rather than having the added expense of loading, hauling, and spreading manure from feedyards.


Funding for this research was provided by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, South Dakota State University, and a partnership between Dakota Lakes Research Farm and the USDA NRCS through cooperative agreement NR186740XXXXC005.