Intercropping livestock and crops set to roll with Stock Cropper


We all know here’s more than one way to achieve a goal, and farming is no exception. Four years ago RealAgriculture caught up with an Indiana farmer pioneering relay and intercropping; fast forward to today and that same farmer is getting creative, now incorporating livestock into the mix.

Jason Mauck was one of many in attendance at this year’s National Farm Machinery Show and Real Agriculture’s Bernard Tobin was able to speak with him and get a glimpse into the rational behind his newest endeavour, Stock Cropper.

“What we’re trying to do is put the livestock in the crop during the growing season, and mimic that sigmoid curve. So we we manage that vegetation and the crop is allowed to flex,” says Mauck.

The Stock Cropper method essentially allows producers to plant corn, soybeans, or other crops, with pasture in between equipped with a mobile fenced-in barn powered by solar energy, which then automatically moves through the strips daily throughout the season. The innovative system was thought up and created by Zack Smith, who then connected with Joe Bassett from Dawn Equipment to bring his idea to life.

Mauck shares a little about their operation and how they put the Stock Cropper into play.

“What I learned from relay cropping is if you give crop space, they’ll flex and they’ll put more grain on per plant. So we plant the corn rows a little bit wider, we were experimenting with 90 to 120 inch rows, sometimes you do four and four, and we and we put the corn where the livestock was the previous year. So by moving these animals by solar energy, we can move them multiple times per day. And over the course of a month, this one contraption can manage 1,015 acres.”

The system is nothing less than innovative, and for certain producers could be a win-win when it comes to optimizing crop and livestock operations synergistically ?— all this in just four short years.

For more from this year’s National Farm Machinery Show, click here.

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