Capturing value in cropping systems using cattle the focus of April 4 field day

Grazing cattle on cropland can be a win-win situation for both crop production and livestock feeding.

March 8, 2018

Lincoln, Neb. — Grazing cattle on cropland can be a win-win situation for both crop production and livestock feeding.  A Nebraska Extension field day on April 4 will provide a unique learning and networking opportunity for cattle operators and those involved in crop production.

The “Capturing Value in Cropping Systems using Cattle,” conference and field day will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead.

“Using cover crops and crop residues as forage sources can be cost-effective for the cattle producer and increase revenue from cropland. Opportunities and challenges of integrating cattle into cropping systems in eastern Nebraska will be discussed at this program,” said Beef Systems Specialist Mary Drewnoski.

There are many challenges and opportunities when trying to decipher how to utilize cover crops as forages and graze cattle in a traditional cropping system.  Speakers will touch on the economics, cover crop species selection, grazing management, and more. First-hand insight from a producer utilizing cover crops as forages in their cropping rotation in eastern Nebraska will also be shared.

 “We are really excited to be working with the university to explore the opportunities that bringing cattle back onto the land can offer,” says Saunders County crop producer Angela Knuth.  She is partnering with the University on a rye grazing study north of ENREC.  Knuth says, “We hope to prove that a diversified cropping rotation along with grazing is both good for the cattle and the bottom line of the cattle producer and landowner.”

Program topics include:

  • The UNL Beef Systems Initiative: Can we sustainably produce more with the same resources?
  • Nitrate toxicity: What is the potential when grazing cover crops?
  • Oats planted after high moisture corn or silage: How much grazing can we get?
  • Using triticale for spring grazing in soybean systems? 
  • Grazing rye planted in corn and soybean systems: How do the cattle and crops perform?

There is no cost to attend and lunch will be provided for those who pre-register.  Participants will drive to several plots at ENREC during the event.

Registration is requested by March 30. To pre-register, visit

For more information, contact Nebraska Extension in Saunders County at (402) 624-8030 or

Kristen Ulmer
Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension