Life After CRP: Conservation and Economic Benefits of Improved Grassland Cover Using Managment Intensive Grazing in Wisconsin
“A lot of CRP land in our area will be released over the coming years with the potential of degrading our water resources. Management-intensive grazing is of growing interest in Wisconsin, but many graziers are concerned about the length of time and effort needed to turn CRP fields into high quality pastures. This demonstration should help answer that question of concern.”
Objectives: To demonstrate the conservation and economic benefits of coverting CRP acres into viable grazing land utilizing management-intensive grazing. Stocker cattle will be used on three-year old CRP fields. The fields will be in various stages of conversion in 1997, with an 11-acre field entering its third grazing year, a 24-acre field in its second year and a 13.5-acre field in its first year. This third CRP field will be coverted into paddocks (first two have already been coverted) and data collection will occur on all three fields on percent ground cover, plant diversity and wildlife use.
Results: The project coordinator’s costs on 25 acres were about $4,000 due to lack of fencing and water. However, after establishing fencing, installing watering systems, fertiizing and seeding legumes, the net returns from the project were $300 per acre. A commerical stock operation would have only netted $80 to $100 per acre, because it would not benefit from the direct marketing aspect that this project included.