Improving Weight Gain in Goats Grazing Cover Crops Selected through Soil Health Samples

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2015: $29,755.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2017
Grant Recipient: Lincoln University Cooperative Extension-Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Susan Jaster
Lincoln University Cooperative Extension-Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Animals: goats


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, manure management, pasture fertility
  • Crop Production: cover crops, no-till
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Energy: energy use
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, risk management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: weed ecology
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Three goat producers from the West Central Region of Missouri would like to feed less grain and hay during the winter months and grow a high quality summer feed when Missouri pastures suffer from high temperatures. The producers would like their goats to gain more weight during winter and the summer slump of July and August. Soil health and cover crops will be the perfect solution to harsh weather in Missouri. Traditional Missouri winter pastures consist of fescue, which is not a favorite food for goats. Soil health samples will be analyzed. Cover crops which are good for grazing will be planted to improve the soil; some will grow well during winter and some during summer slump. Then goats should gain weight in winter and summer feeding on cover crops rather than producers feeding costly grain and hay. The goat producers will host 3 field days to discuss what they have learned about grazing cover crops during winter and summer slump to lower feed costs and promote better weight gain. Three goats will be harvested to sample the meat for the field days.

    Project objectives from proposal:


      • Begin to improve soil health


      • Use soil health tests to select cover crops for good grazing and soil health


      • Extend the grazing season for small ruminants with winter hardy and heat tolerant cover crops


      • Promote rate of gain in goats by using cover crops for grazing rather than feeding grain and hay during very cold and very hot weather


    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.