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Researcher studies cover crop effects on winter pasture

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Posted Nov. 30, 2015

ARDMORE, Okla. — Noble Research Institute researchers are studying how cover crops could be part of a year-round grazing system that provides economic and environmental benefits to farmers and ranchers.

Noble Research Institute research agronomist James Rogers, Ph.D., received a three-year, $155,975 conservation innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service to conduct the research. The grant will support Rogers in determining how much moisture is used and/or conserved by summer cover crops and how those crops impact production of grasses and legumes consumed by livestock (commonly called forages) during the winter months.

Moisture is a key component of crop and forage production. Sufficient moisture levels boost pasture quantity and provide benefits to soil, which ultimately helps farmers and ranchers. "We need to determine whether the cover crops take moisture away from or preserve moisture for winter pasture," Rogers said. "Preserving moisture will allow for earlier fall production. However, if the cover crops use up the moisture, winter pasture production is limited."

This research is part of the Noble Research Institute's Forage 365 initiative, which seeks to enable ranchers to extend their grazing season and reduce dependency on hay. The research that comprises Forage 365 includes basic plant science, improved forage variety development and research on management practices.

"As a whole, Forage 365 focuses on four introduced pillar forages: wheat, bermudagrass, tall fescue and alfalfa in order to improve their performance in Southern Great Plains grazing systems," Rogers said. "Incorporating a cover crop into wheat pasture stocker systems could enhance the system, but it needs to be tested and that is what this grant will help us to do."

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James Rogers, Ph.D.Noble Research Institute research agronomist James Rogers, Ph.D., received a three-year, $155,975 conservation innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service to study how cover crops could be part of a year-round grazing system that provides economic and environmental benefits to farmers and ranchers.

Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Noble Research Institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research; offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers; operates seven research and demonstration farms; and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. The Noble Research Institute was founded by Lloyd Noble, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, in 1945 as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to advance agriculture and land stewardship.

For media inquiries concerning the Noble Research Institute, please contact:
J. Adam Calaway, Director of Communications and Public Relations
580-224-6209 | 580-224-6208 fax

Robyn Peterson, Public Relations Coordinator
580-224-6294

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