The Coming Revolution

Crop farming has gone through several stages of evolution during past centuries and we are now in the beginning stages of another, the cover cropping revolution. Cover crops will bring farmers into the reality of teaming with the environment instead of brushing it aside to follow an incomplete comprehension of the natural world.  Progress can only come with a deep awareness of the complexity and interrelationships that direct all organisms in the natural world. Cover cropping is the connection between farming and the environment that has been lacking through the centuries and only now is obtaining a significant following and verifiable success. Cover cropping will also plug a hole in the declining diversity of crops and profit enterprises on our farms. By grazing cover crops with livestock, farmers and ranchers can add an additional income stream. Millions of acres of farm ground are left bare and unproductive for half of each year. Think about the opportunities being missed! One half the year’s free solar energy is going to waste. Additional enterprises on a farm utilizing cover crops can alleviate the pressure off depending on only one or two commodity crops. In this country, diversified farms with a combination of animals and crops were the norm in days gone by. Rotating crops, planting legumes and applying animal manure were common pract

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5 thoughts on “The Coming Revolution

  1. I planted Jerry oats, turnips, annual rye, orchard grass and red clover in over grazed, on purpose, tall fescue pasture. I got some fall growth but my goal is early spring grazing with the clover and orchard grass for mid summer. I farm in western Ky and this is my first attempt.

    Bob

  2. I’ve been grazing cattle on long established Tall Fescue pasture following the Greg Judy strategy to diversify with some partial success, which varies year to year. After my stockpile forage is used up in early spring, we could use a “cover crop” that was seeded in fall into recently grazed permanent pasture. I’m dubious about drilling Brassica, rye grass and the like into my sward in late summer without using herbicide, afraid the seed would not take in face of competition. This would be putting a “cover crop” into pre-existing cover. Any advice anyone?

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve thought of intentionally over-grazing a section of pasture and then drilling into the weakened sward. I have no clue how well the seeding of (enter your crop here) would do…

      1. As I’m doing research for articles for On Pasture, I’ve actually found some information on this. I’ll dig it back out and write it up since it seems to be of interest here.

    2. Jaime Elozonda of Florida routinely grazes a cover crop very short, then plants. I’m not sure of the plants grazed down or what goes in next. He is successful doing this in his environment.

      Chip

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