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Grazing better for the soil than growing grain

Six Minnesota pasture-based ranchers asked researchers to compare the health of their soil with soil from neighboring farms that produced corn, soybean, oats, or hay. At the end of four years of monitoring, researchers concluded that the carefully managed grazed land had:

    • 53% greater soil stability
    • 131% more earthworms
    • Substantially more organic matter
    • Less nitrate pollution of groundwater
    • Improved stream quality
    • Better habitat for grassland birds and other wildlife

Depending on the way that cattle are managed, they can either devastate a landscape or greatly improve the health of the soil. To be listed on our Eatwild Pastured Products Directory, producers must certify that they use best management practices.

("Managed Grazing as an Alternative Manure Management Strategy," Jay Dorsey, Jodi Dansingburg, Richard Ness, USDA-ARS, Land Stewardship Project.)

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Pasture Perfect
by Jo Robinson


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