The Effect of Grazing and Non-grazing of Annual Green Manures on Following Crops – Establishment Year
James Frey, Manitoba Agriculture
Jessica Frey, Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation
To demonstrate the use of an annual green manure crop for grazing by livestock and to provide fertility for the following crop (2019); and to evaluate the performance of three annual field crops after a green manure crop, with and without grazing (2020).
After establishing the green manure crop on May 14, half of the crop was intensively grazed by sheep, and the other half was mowed. The entire area was disked in October, after freeze-up. Table 1 gives details for the green manure blend.
The cost of the seed blend for forage is high relative to simpler cereal-only annual forages, such as barley planted for green feed (estimated at $16.88/ac in the MB Agriculture Cost of Production). However, the blend used here allows for extended in-season grazing, including swath or bale grazing, reducing pressure of perennial pastures. Some livestock producers in Manitoba have successfully used annual green manures to graze livestock in-field into the winter months, reducing feeding and yardage costs. Other benefits in future years to soil health and crop performance may be observed.
Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.