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Workshop about overwintering cattle in Coon Valley
Cattle in Winter

VERNON COUNTY - The Wallace Center Pasture Project will host a discussion and demonstration of the value of out wintering cattle on crop fields. The event will take place on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon at E5930 Spring Coulee Road near Coon Valley.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact John Delaney at 608-637-3615 or Registration deadline is January 12. A grilled lunch will be provided.

 Winter feed costs are a large proportion of total annual operation costs in livestock systems.  Out wintering livestock on crop residues and/or cover crops can be a cost saving practice when compared to dry lot feeding. By utilizing integrated crop-livestock systems, winter feeding costs can be reduced by taking advantage of forage available in cropped fields following harvest and eliminating labor and equipment costs associated with removal and mechanical application of manure.

The natural distribution of manure by animals while feeding in crop field helps to improve retention of nutrients, much of which are lost to volatilization, leaching, and runoff in a dry lot before manure is removed. In addition to the superior fertilization benefits, manure that is deposited on the field over the winter months is much less prone to runoff than manure that is applied mechanically in the spring and fall when precipitation is high.

The increase in nutrient availability and organic matter produced through an out wintering system has a positive effect on crop yields in subsequent years and improves soil quality over time.