This NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant compared the economics of three, after-wheat cover cropping scenarios in Republic County Kansas: using cover crop mixes without harvesting, grazing cover crops, and haying cover crops. The field was approximately 61 acres and plots were laid out under the supervision of Peter Tomlinson, K-State Extension Agronomist, to ensure replicable results and advice on specific cover crop varieties was provided by Dale Strickler, a widely known cover crop expert. The three scenarios were:
1) A cover crop cocktail consisting of legumes, brassicas, and forage components such as oats planted after wheat harvest in the summer of 2014 on approximately 20.3 acres;
2) A cover crop cocktail planted on approximately 20.3 acres after wheat harvest and 50 head of 400-500 pound steers turned out to graze; and
3) A cover crop cocktail planted on approximately 20.3 acres after wheat harvest and swathed and baled at the optimal time to balance tonnage and protein content.