Using Forage and Grazing Systems as an Alternative to Row Crops on Michigan Muck Soils

1996 Annual Report for FNC96-155

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1996: $5,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1997
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:

Using Forage and Grazing Systems as an Alternative to Row Crops on Michigan Muck Soils

Summary

“Managed rotational grazing on muck soils has not been addressed either by researchers or farmers. There are acres of muck soils in the Great Lakes region that could benefit from our on-farm research. Also, it should help show the importance of large flocks of sheep and forage production in sustainable agriculture.”

Objectives: To provide an alternative to row-crop production on the fragile muck soils of southwestern Michigan. The project coordinator proposed to delegate 60 acres of Houghton muck that has been drained into high grazing projections. His flock of 600 to 700 ewes and lambs will rotationally graze the 60 acres, in addition to other paddocks. All the land will be seeded with grasses and legumes. Electric, high-tensile fences will also be installed.

Results: The project coordinator established an excellent stand of grass and legumes. Various mixes included orchard grass, timothy, ryegrass and Birdsfoot trefoil. Grazing began in late-summer and fencing will be completed by fall of 1998.