Dairy Farmer perspectives on cover crop forages after corn silage

Kevin Shelley, UW Nutrient and Pest Management Program

A new publication, Planting cover crops after corn silage for spring forage harvest: Opportunities and challenges as told by dairy farmers and their consultants in Wisconsin, is available on the Nutrient and Pest Management Program (NPM) website at Dairy Farmer perspectives on cover crop forages after corn silage publication

This publication addresses the practice of planting winter cereal grains (rye or triticale) as a forage crop following corn silage. It presents the results of four focus group interview sessions conducted by University of Wisconsin Extension colleagues Liz Binversie, Heidi Johnson, Randy Shaver and Kevin Shelley with dairy farmers and their nutrition and agronomy consultants in Dane and Brown Counties. These counties have high dairy concentrations, associated surface and groundwater resource protection challenges and engaged farmers working to address them in various ways.

The publication, reflecting the study’s objectives, intends to help educators, conservation professionals and agricultural consultants better understand farmer’s motivations, challenges and successes associated with fall-planted cover crops as spring harvested forages. Further, it provides farmer’s thoughts and insights about management requirements for cover crop forages and also identifies needs for additional research and resources. Interview and qualitative data analysis methods were developed with assistance from UW Division of Extension Program Development and Evaluation.