Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
For Ed Morse of Council Bluffs, cover crops add a critical link in the year-round forage chain. He says, “By the fall, we are out of pasture and the cows are ready to get out on cover crops and corn stalks.”

Cover crops for fall grazing: To get forage quickly in the fall, Ed prioritizes drilling cover crops on fields that had been in soybeans or corn silage. Seeding at a heavier rate of 100 lbs/acre of cereal rye spurs ample growth. Ed has also experimented with grazing oats and pearl millet with radishes.
Avoiding overgrazing: To prevent overgrazing, Ed says, “When we can restrict access, we try to get some growth in before they’re allowed to graze. But when we cannot feasibly restrict access to the cover cropped ground, we simply make sure we have a plentiful stand to start with. The cows will find their way to that rye when it is big enough to eat – otherwise they are content with [grazing] terraces, headlands, and corn stover.”

Preparing for spring grazing: To ensure spring regrowth of cover crops, Ed takes the cows off when the snow falls. He says that a good spring cover crop stand is ideal for providing a fresh, clean pasture for cows and calves in the spring.
Planning for silage: While rye works well for grazing, Ed prefers triticale for silage, noting its superior feed quality.

Last year he harvested 5.5 tons of triticale silage per acre! Check out the process of cutting, chopping and packing triticale silage on Ed's farm in this video.

If you've used cover crops before you could receive $10/acre. New to cover crops? You could receive $40/acre. Fill out the application now to see if you’re eligible.
Are you a grazier looking for more forage? Or perhaps you're a row crop farmer with cover crops begging to be consumed by some livestock? 

This new matchmaking site connects graziers, farmers and landowners throughout the upper Midwest. List what you have to offer and find your perfect match! 
Six Iowa farmers - all integrated crop & cattle farmers - kept cover crop and grazing records and found that each farmer profited from grazing cover crops within the year of planting, and profits averaged $76/acre! The study contributes to the evidence that grazing cover crops provides short term economic returns.

Calculate how much money grazing cover crops saved you by using resources in this blog.
Fall grazing cover crops has great potential, and using “best management practices” sets us up to meet our production goals.  

Pulling on lessons from experienced farmers, this resource provides tips on how to make a plan for fall grazing cover crops.
The end of field day season is approaching, but you can see recordings from most of this season’s field days—from roller crimping cover crops to grazing cover crops and beyond—on the Practical Farmers of Iowa YouTube page.
Hosted by: John Kempf & Green Cover Seed
October 27 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Sarah Carlson & Iowa Learning Farms
October 28 | 12 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Mitch Stephenson, Travis Mulliniks & UNL
October 29 | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Online

Hosted by: Adam Schnieders & Iowa Learning Farms
November 4 | 12 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
November 5 | 1 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: James White & Green Cover Seed
November 10 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Abbey Wick & Iowa Learning Farms
November 11 | 12 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa & Partners
December 3 - 4 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. | Online
Want to host a virtual cover crop happy hour? We’ll help you with the tech, and how to virtually invite your neighbors to the discussion. Contact Sarah if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop field day—virtual or in person? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
What is your preferred cover crop species for grazing or forage?
Cereal (rye, oats, triticale)
Cereal plus a brassica (turnip, rape, radish)
Three plus species mix
I don’t use cover crop for grazing or forage
Send us your cover crop poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know, reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Previous poll results:
How are you seeding cover crops this fall?
Drill or planter - 52.4%
Overseeding - 28.6%
Broadcasting - 9.5%
Broadcasting with fall fertilizer - 9.5%
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661