Organic Farming Production Discussion Board

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Cereal rye CC before soybeans

I posted this question on the PFI list serve, but maybe it could be better answered on the IOA list serve. How do I get on this list serve? I am a new member. Does anyone have any experience with grazing sheep on fall seeded rye cover crop? I read an interesting piece in the Organic Broadcaster recently which made me wonder if what that particular farmer does with beef cattle in central IL, I can do with sheep, on my organic acres that will go to soybeans next spring (page 9, July/August issue). If I plant rye as a fall cover on corn, I would be tilling the rye under next spring (not brave enough to roll it quite yet), before planting soybeans, I am wondering how to properly graze it this fall and winter. Does grazing set the rye back some? Do sheep eat rye? If their diet only consisted of rye for a while would it hurt them? How many sheep are needed per acre to do a good job of grazing it? Any experience with sheep and grazing rye would be helpful. I was considering a winter kill cover crop mix, but now I am curious about cereal rye in organic acres. In the spring, it can get a little sloppy out there to graze the rye. But I imagine that tilling it under would have to be done sooner than later. Any organic farmer members have any experience with tilling rye in the spring before soybean planting? Wendy Johnson

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