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Rick Worthington Farmers Save $$$ with Cover Crops
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: April 10, 2018

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New research says that depending on the size of their farms, farmers can save between $350 and $40,000 per year by grazing cattle on cover crops.

The two-year, on-farm research project is being conducted in order to put a price tag on the forage produced by cover crops.

The goal was to quantify the value of grazing cattle on cover crops and showed the total economic gain from feeding those crops to cattle ranged from $2 per acre to $60 per acre.

Bill Frederick is one of three farmers participating in the project.

"I really think that cover crops are beneficial for the soil, for the water and kind of good for you and the neighbors, and anything to make that cost-effective is a good deal," he explains.

Frederick says he more than recouped his costs and also improved his soil health.

"I think our water-holding capacity is a lot better, along with that it's supposed to be good for the microbes, and the more we learn about that, the more we find out how much good they're doing," he says. "And then erosion control obviously is huge, so, I don't think it's a passing fad. I think it's here to stay."

Fredrick notes that by integrating livestock into cover-crop cultivation, many farmers can realize sizable monetary benefits within the first year.

Cover crops were used nearly 200 years before World War II, and Frederick says while they might not work for every farmer, their increasing popularity is a good sign.

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