Journal of NACAA

Evaluation of Cover Crop Productivity for Integrated Crop-livestock Systems in the Intermountain West

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 15, Issue 1 - June 2022

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


A multi-year cover crop trial was conducted at three sites to evaluate productivity by comparing the dry matter (DM) yield and reporting forage quality for five seed mixes. The treatments varied in species diversity from n=1 to n=11 when compared to sorghum-sudangrass (Sorghum × drummondii) solo. Plots were in Sanpete Co., UT, Cache Co., UT, and Davis Co., UT. Five treatments were replicated four times in a randomized complete block design at each site. Productivity and forage quality were evaluated 45 and 81 days after planting. Cover crop biomass 45 and 81 days after planting ranged 2.15 to 3.86 and 3.01 to 4.91 tons per acre, respectively. Forage quality was determined by the percent of protein, acid detergent fiber, and total digestible nutrient present. Biomass production was only affected by species diversity at one site 45 days after planting. There was not a significant divergence between biomass and species diversity at any site 81 days after planting. Cover crops may provide additional grazing opportunities when added to existing integrated crop-livestock production systems in the western U.S.

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