Climate Resilient Forages for the Upper Midwest

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2015: $9,998.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Daniel Schaefer
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. annual), sorghum sudangrass
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: intercropping

    Proposal abstract:

    Warm season annuals such as corn and brown mid rib (BMR) sudangrass can increase the carrying capacity of grazing farms by producing great amounts of forages during mid-summer, when cool season pasture growth rates decline. Increasing carrying capacity on farms will result in greater profitability for farmers since stocking rates can be greater, producing more product per area. The available mid-summer forage during drought will also eliminate requirements for purchase of expensive harvested feeds.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives of this study are to quantify annual forage production, forage quality, and animal gain on warm season pastures. To increase the sustainability of the annual systems, both environmentally and financially, the warm season annuals will be inter-seeded into Kura clover and the mid-summer grazing of these forages will be preceded by grazing of winter rye that was inter-seeded into the same Kura clover sward. The Kura clover will serve to protect soils and provide nitrogen for both plants and grazing animals. The winter rye will provide weed control in early spring and a forage source for grazing, increasing the forage produced per area. The differences between the two systems will be measured to determine how a warm season annual best fits into a grazing rotation. This will involve measuring forage production, forage quality, animal gain, and number of grazing days. Additionally, an economic analysis will be completed to determine the costs of planting and maintaining both systems. Therefore, the results of this study will assist farmers in creating climate resilient grazing systems that are environmentally sustainable and that have been tested for economic merit.

    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.