Multi-Species Bale Grazing to Build Soil Health

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $18,000.00
Projected End Date: 07/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Gaugler Farm and Ranch
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Erin Gaugler
Gaugler Farm and Ranch

Information Products

Bale Grazing to Build Soil Health: Presentation Slides (Conference/Presentation Material)
Mail-box Handout (Conference/Presentation Material)
Flyer (Display)


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - multispecies, manure management, pasture renovation, pasture fertility, winter forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling, nutrient management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life

    Proposal summary:

    This project is designed to address the resource concerns of land that was historically farmed with no inputs and depleted to a point of no longer being productive.  To rejuvenate the land and demonstrate how sustainable agriculture can be adapted to fit an operation, project coordinators will use multiple species of livestock and bale grazing.  This management strategy allows us to demonstrate a practice that is ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible.  Research from multiple universities has shown that bale grazing can increase nutrient capture, cycling, carbon sequestration, and more.  It has been shown that it can reduce the direct costs of labor, machinery, maintenance, fuel and fertilizer costs.  Additionally, multi-species grazing has the potential to improve forage utilization.  What research hasn’t been able to show is the real world application that combines all areas of focus and is available for producers to see the benefits and challenges of adopting a sustainable practice like bale grazing with multiple species.  As project coordinators, we feel a social responsibility to provide others with the opportunity to ask questions and consider options for their own operation.  It is through projects like this that sustainable agriculture will become a term that is better understood and more readily adopted.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Improve soil health and fertility
    • Increase nutrient cycling and reduce nutrient runoff
    • Improve herbage production and forage quality
    • Improve residue management
    • Improve herd and flock health by extending grazing season
    • Observe potential benefits of multi-species in a bale grazing scenario
    • Reduce feed and labor costs
    • Share findings through self-guided tours, field days, extension publications and testimonials to improve understanding of sustainable agriculture
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.