Episode 2

Published on:

1st Feb 2022

Pulses, Cover Crops and Cattle with Miranda Meehan, Ph.D.

Dr. Miranda Meehan is the Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist with North Dakota State University Extension. Her work primarily deals with grazing management and the balance between our environment and our livestock. 

In this episode we talk about making rotations of livestock and pulse crops work. Specifically, we’ll cover the role of pulses in full season cover crops, the considerations of incorporating cattle into crop rotations, and we’ll also get into some of the biggest questions about cattle and crops like compaction, stocking rates and forage quality. 

“I think the most common thing we see people do in starting with cover crops is those winter cereals because that's an easy way to get into it and it doesn't interrupt our cropping system much.… That's a really good source for grazing, getting animals out for a little earlier grazing than we would if we had to wait for pastures to be ready.” - Dr. Miranda Meehan

Dr. Meehan suggests basing your cover crop selections on your overall goals for production. Different factors such as grazing, haying, and cost of seed can all affect that decision. In addition to watching costs and nutritional balance, timing is also very important. For example,  in a frost situation legumes will lose their quality, but brassicas will be able to maintain. But, she says pulses, peas in particular, can be a great fit in full season cover crop mixes. 

“In terms of our pulses, I think the best fit in a grazing situation is our field or forage peas. They are very affordable. They're under 50 cents a pound. And so, if we don't have something established, you don't feel bad about it. You're not out a lot and that lowers that risk.…..It's a cool season. It starts growth nice and early. We actually have seen regrowth on it when we graze it.” -Dr. Miranda Meehan

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Dr. Miranda Meehan is the Livestock Environmental Stewardship Specialist with North Dakota State University Extension.
  • Discover the benefits pulses can offer to grazing operations
  • Explore the different options and considerations for full season cover crops

Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
This show features the latest in research, agronomy, and economics of pulse crops (peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.).

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.