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Soil Sense

89 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


Grazing Management with Dr. Miranda Meehan

**Join us virtually at the DIRT Workshop December 8th - 9th:**

Incorporating livestock into your soil health program can seem daunting. Dr. Miranda Meehan is the Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist at NDSU Extension in the Animal Sciences Department. Her current research focuses on grazing management of cover crops. While cover crops can encourage soil health the return on investment may take some years to realize.

“The best way to get an economic return quickly on implementing or integrating cover crops is by integrating livestock into that system.” - Dr. Miranda Meehan

To date there isn’t a lot of research specifically focused on the impacts of grazing management within cover crop systems. Dr. Meehan is working on better defining some key factors to help producers plan out their options.

The terminology can be confusing but Dr. Meehan breaks it down for us. Stock density is the “number of animals per unit area.” Stocking rate is a “management decision on the number of animals we put out there” based on the number and type of cattle you intend to use. Carrying capacity is the available forage for those animals to graze. Dr. Meehan would like to be able to give farmers the list of soil health benefits as well as the economic benefits.

“We want to take a closer look at that so we could answer those questions and provide that information and hopefully enhance management within grazing cover crop systems.” - Dr. Miranda Meehan

Dr. Meehan recommends contacting your county extension agent to start determining the stocking rate and carrying capacity of your operation. There is also a grazing calculator app available on iTunes or Google Play that will help calculate some of those options. The county extension can also help you determine what cattle in what phase of production would best fit your cover crop options. Dr. Meehan recommends partnering with a livestock producer in your area when first trialing livestock management on cover crops and building from there.

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Dr. Miranda Meehan, Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist at NDSU Extension in the Animal Sciences Department
  • Explore what ongoing research is happening to better define livestock management options for grazing cover crops
  • Discover how Dr. Meehan recommends starting this process on your operation

Connect with Soil Sense:

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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