- Agronomic: corn, oats
- Animals: bovine, goats, sheep
- Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing management, stockpiled forages, winter forage
- Crop Production: cover crops, intercropping, strip tillage
- Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
I am looking to enhance profitability per acre and reduce business risk by improving land utilization efficiency by getting more forage out of existing acreage and minimize input costs by intensively managing feed costs. By extending the length of time animals can graze forages I can reduce purchased feed costs and be in a better position to maintain a profitable operation during extreme changes for input costs and livestock price cycles. I am in the process of switching from feeding harvested grains to supplement feeder lambs, goats and beef cattle, to a year round grazing system that includes grazing standing com during the late fall. After the com ears are grazed the quality of the remaining stover is poor. After I attended a SARE cover crop demonstration field day in October of 2009, I was curious about seeding cover crops to enhance the grazing quality of stalks. I talked with the cooperator and University of Missouri Extension staff about the possibilities of using cover crops in standing com to get a longer period of high quality grazing, greater stocking density and developing a system giving a greater return per acre and still improve long term quality of my soil resource. Aerial seeding is not an economical option. If cover crops could be seeded into standing corn during June using available ground seeding equipment resulting in cover crops with a thick enough stand to achieve fall grazing goals, this would lead to developing a system that would have a very positive economic impact on small and larger livestock producers in Missouri.