Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Collaborating producer: Curt and Patty Hale (Clear Hills County)
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2014 Annual Report
Recent environmental and ecological awareness, and the willingness of producers (with verse knowledge on cover cropping) to share their experiences with other producers has started a resurgence in cover crop use in beef cattle operations. A series of workshops on cover cropping put on by PCBFA has shown that the advantages of integrating cover cropping systems into the forage based production systems of beef cattle operations are numerous. Cover crops protect water quality by reducing losses of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment. Cover crops can increase nutrient efficiency through reduced soil erosion (less soil organic matter and soil nutrients losses in the topsoil). Cover crops are scavengers of residual nitrogen (N), converting N to proteins (enzymes, hormones, amino acids). Improved forage yield and quality are some of the other benefits of cover cropping. This report attempts to highlight the collaborating producer’s efforts on testing a series of cover crop species that can be used in cover crop cocktail mixtures for silage for backgrounding or for swath grazing.
Cover crop test plots consisting of several monocultures and cocktail mixtures were seeded by the collaborating producer. The crops used for the test plots are listed below (Table 1).
These crops were seeded as monocultures in one section and in various mixtures in another section (where cross seeding was carried out). In this report, only 10 of the monocultures/cocktail mixtures are examined for forage and quality. The 10 monocultures/cocktail mixtures and their seeding rates are: