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MSU Organic Farming Study Explores Benefits of Using Sheep

Montana State University (MSU) and North Dakota State University conducted a two year study on using domestic sheep versus traditional farming equipment to manage fallow and terminate cover crops.

Montana is the third largest producer of organic crops and livestock in the US.

Organic Farmer Benefits:

  • Save money
  • Reduce tillage
  • Manage weeds
  • Manage pests
  • Reduce the risk of soil erosion

The study’s preliminary results are showing several environmental and economic benefits for an integrated cropping and livestock system.

Tillage is used to terminate cover crops and rid unwanted weeds for the organic farm. Continuous mechanical tilling can upset soil structure and reduce organic matter. This can ultimately have a negative impact on the success and growth of future crops. Grazing can reduce tillage by more than half.

The study shows a way to bring together farm systems and ranch systems in an enterprise level manner finding very real economic and agronomic benefits.

SOURCE: Organic Assistant

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