Living crop mulch is a type of cover crop that is planted in between rows of cash crops, rather than being tilled into the soil after the cash crop is harvested. The living crop mulch can serve as a source of forage for livestock, while also improving soil health and the bottom line for farmers.
By planting living crop mulch, farmers can reduce the amount of tillage needed, which can help to preserve soil structure and increase soil organic matter. The living crop mulch also provides a habitat for soil organisms, which can improve soil health and nutrient cycling. Additionally, the living crop mulch can help to suppress weeds, reduce erosion, and improve water infiltration and retention in the soil.
In terms of livestock feed, the living crop mulch can provide a source of forage for grazing animals. This can reduce the need for costly feed and fertilizers, while also promoting animal health and reducing the risk of soil compaction from heavy grazing. Additionally, the living crop mulch can help to diversify the diet of grazing animals, which can improve their nutritional intake and reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Incorporating living crop mulch into farming systems can have many benefits for both soil health and livestock management. It is important for farmers to carefully plan and manage their living crop mulch systems to ensure that they are optimized for both livestock and soil health outcomes.