Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2017 


In focus on our Friday Rundown; the U.S. Senate takes a first step towards passing major tax cuts; holiday help wanted as retail and restaurant job opportunities abound; plus, we report on a website that helps new moms take 12 from work.

Daily Newscasts

Iowa Farm Highlights Value of Cattle and Cover Crops

Matt Schuiteman of AJS Farms says he is creating two different revenue streams off the same acre by grazing cover crops. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
Matt Schuiteman of AJS Farms says he is creating two different revenue streams off the same acre by grazing cover crops. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
May 30, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The use of cover crops has grown in popularity in Iowa, and some farmers are taking the method a step further.

Matt Schuiteman of Ajs Farms near Sioux Center started working with cover crops about 12 years ago to capture nutrients and protect soil health. As the farm explored how to expand their cattle herd, Schuiteman realized there was a value in using cover crops for both grazing and harvesting as feed.

"We may sacrifice a little bit of yield on the next corn crop, but with the value we get out of grazing the rye and harvesting the rye, we're still way ahead versus having only one crop,” Schuiteman said. "It basically does turn into two different revenue streams off the same acre, and in today's margins that's kind of a big deal."

Several of Sioux Center's wells are on Schuiteman's land, and he participated in a recent research study to examine how cropping systems can reduce nitrate in groundwater. They discovered a two-year alfalfa and two-year corn rotation was a good balance for his land.

Schuiteman will be sharing his methods during a Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day today.

Schuiteman doesn't have pasture ground, so the cover crops allow forage for the cattle nearly year-round. He said he encourages farmers and anyone interested in agriculture to come out and see first-hand how grazing cover crops works, and to learn about the benefits.

"We've got several cows and cow-calf pairs that are grazing rye, and we've also got about 15 acres of rye that we actually grow and harvest for our own seed," he said. "So we'll take a peek at that, and we'll also probably have some rye laid down that we're going to go ahead and harvest for wintertime feed."

Ajs Farms is also participating in a three-year on-farm research project with Practical Farmers to quantify the amount of feed and money saved by grazing cattle on cover crops.

For more information, visit PracticalFarmers.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA