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The $200 Cover Crop Bump

By   /  June 30, 2014  /  4 Comments

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Jeff Rasawehr, a 2009 SARE grant recipient, shows runoff of cover cropped land versus non-cover crop
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About the author

Author and editor emeritus

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.


  1. Carrie Robinson says:

    I wanted to comment on your Memorial Day article and video, but Do you turn off comments after a month or so? If not, I’m once again showing my Techno. Savvi-osity!
    Thanks for opening my eyes once again (I’m up past midnight reading on pasture. Good stuff!

  2. Doug says:

    A good article this week…Rachel!

    We drill or broadcast a diverse cool season seed blend into mixed tame pasture (perennial an annual) each late summer/fall….the mix contains (cereal rye, oats, radish, hairy vetch, winter peas…..5-6 varieties small seed legume and brassica). Several grazings from fall through winter are afforded….options to graze out, high density treading at heading for OM, or defered grazing in spring (improved weed control, more warm season perennial growth, and/or for bird nesting/fawning cover).

    The next step we would like to take is to look at reseeding potential of theses mixes so that annual seed costs can be reduced or eliminated. I wouldn’t mind having any species in the mix as a weed in pasture!

    So my question…do you know of anyone letting cover crops go to seed in their pastures?….what have been the adv and dis of such?

    • Kelly says:

      I am seriously new at this, but I started leasing a property that had a field of annual rye/hairy vetch sown on it. The property is slated for development, so I don’t want to put a lot of money into improving soils, but I want decent grazing for my animals. The field went to seed last year & the majority of it (rye & vetch) has come back this year. There are more weeds. I had thought about putting some barley down that I had, but never got to it. I think this fall, I will do a cover crop mix on it to help keep the weeds down.

    • A cover crop that is part of your pasture that you desire to continue in your pasture——allows for letting it seed itself—–there is nothing wrong with and it is a sustainable practice to let covers seed themselves in a pasture situation—-I do it with clovers all the time

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