Craig Swaby of Unionville, IA grazes about 100 head of cows. He relies on cover crops as an important feedstuff in his grazing rotation.
Simple cereal rye: Craig has tried grazing wheat and no-till radishes in previous years, but switched to using cereal rye exclusively as he has found it to be the hardiest option for spring grazing. His preferred seeding method is to broadcast seed with dry fertilizer after combining.
“Keep it simple and keep your inputs low. It's easy and you don't have to overthink it,” says Craig.
Added flexibility: Craig relies on cover crop grazing to give his pastures more time to rest. "I'll let my spring pastures grow up while the cows are grazing the cereal rye to increase my forage availability," Craig says. Depending on the weather he is able to begin spring grazing on cover crops between mid-April and mid-May. After the cows have grazed the cover crops, soybeans are drilled in. Craig appreciates cover crops because they serve as another source of forage that can prolong his grazing season while benefitting his fields.