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Cover Crops + Livestock = Winning!

By   /  October 13, 2014  /  Comments Off on Cover Crops + Livestock = Winning!

Well-known grazier Gabe Brown shares his five steps for healthy soil and how using them on his farm has made him successful.

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We don’t usually put a 23-minute video in front of you and suggest you watch it. I don’t think we ever have. But this one is worth it. Kathy and I agree (non-soil geek and soil geek alike) that you should see this video. Maybe bring your sandwich to the computer, open up the link in YouTube, and watch it full screen, so it’s like lunch and a movie.

Here’s why we think it’s worth watching: this video is Gabe Brown sharing his story on grazing cover crops and how it benefits livestock operators. He farms with his wife and son on 5,000 acres in North Dakota, and he is a font of knowledge. If you’ve never heard of Gabe Brown, you’re going to want to hear more of him after this. If you have heard of him, you’re probably already opening the video.

Gabe starts his talk with this simple explanation of how to keep soil healthy. It takes these five concepts:

1. Least mechanical disturbance possible.

2. Armor on the soil surface.

3. Plant diversity.

4. Living roots as long as possible.

5. Integration of livestock on cropland.

Starting from that list, he shows you how these concepts work on his farm, giving you plenty of information and ideas to take back to yours. So, run and grab a snack, sit back down, and get ready for something great!

P.S.  Thanks to Morgan Hartman of Black Queen Angus Farm for suggesting we share this video with the On Pasture Community!

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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.

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