Economic viability of fodder beets as winter forage for cattle in Eastern Oregon

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $19,419.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Willamette Valley Lamb
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Cody Wood
Willamette Valley Lamb


  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage

    Proposal summary:

    Historically, livestock production has been an unsustainable facet of our agricultural system. We are now recognizing the power of grazing and pasture to store carbon and feed populations and economically benefit farmers. Cattle are the top agricultural commodity in Oregon, the majority of these operations are in the southeastern part of the state. One specific challenge facing producers in this region is the lack of winter forage. This shortage leads ranchers to confinement feed their animals over the winter. We want to measure the economic viability of wintering cattle on fodder beet pasture as compared to feedlot systems. This will be accomplished by instituting a 40-acre trial of fodder beet forage for winter grazing of approximately 200 cattle in Burns, OR.
    We are requesting funding for one year to complete this trial. Fodder beets are being successfully used to pasture livestock in New Zealand; the low cost, high yield and high metabolic energy of this crop allow for high stocking densities and indicate great promise for the economic advancement of rural farmers. Fodder beets have also introduced a new avenue through which young people in New Zealand are becoming farmers. The expertise of myself as a grazer coupled with the experience of my technical advisor make us an exceptionally qualified team to carry out this trial.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Quantify the efficacy of winter grazing on fodder beets as compared to feedlot wintering
    based on cost.
    2. Actively share results with local extension agents, ranchers, farmers, industry
    organizations and private consultants during the trial and after the data has been collected
    and analyzed.

    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.