Grazing cover crops by cattle provides an option to offset cover crop seed costs and increase farm revenue. To facilitate farmers’ decision making, this article will evaluate the economic profitability from grazing cattle on cover crops using a partial budgeting approach.
Cover crops are generally defined as crops planted between cash crops to cover and protect the soil. Some demonstrated benefits of cover crops include: reduced soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, increased biological diversity, increased nitrogen supply, and weed control. Depending on the farmers’ objectives, different species of cover crops can be planted. For example, if a farmer’s main objective is to increase nitrogen supply, then legume cover crops best suited to the farm area should be selected.
Two-year corn-soybean rotation coupled with heavy chemical inputs has become the routine practice of agricultural production in the Midwestern United States. According to USDA/NASS data, corn and soybean prices received by producers in South Dakota both reached the peak levels of $7.39 and $16.00 per bushel, respectively, in August, 2012.
Soil degradation has become one of the most pressing global issues, because of its adverse effects on world food security, environment and quality of life.
Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.
Chemicals were one of the most expensive individual costs in soybean production, behind only to seed in the non-land cost category. The average cash-rent soybean production farms incurred a crop chemical cost of $39/ac in 2015, an 88% increase from 2010.
There seems to be a misconception nowadays in much of the public that in order for agriculture to be sustainable in the future, there is a need to go organic. Organic agriculture can be sustainable, but so can traditional agriculture.
The recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture data shows that South Dakota has experienced a considerable increase in acreage harvested of two major crops, corn and soybeans over the past decade.
We want you! SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council are seeking South Dakota Soybean Growers willing to participate in a farmer-led on-farm research program.
As the spray season starts, it is always good to be aware of resources and testing facilities where you can send in possible herbicide-affected plant samples. SDSU Extension offers suggestions on how to handle possible herbicide damage situations as well as recommended labs that receive plant matter samples to test for herbicide residues.