Including grazing in a crop-rotation system may enrich the soil’s carbon content.

According to USDA research, carbon stored in the soil during the first five years of Bermuda grass management was two to three times greater when the grass was grazed compared to when it was harvested for hay or left unharvested. Maintaining more carbon in the soil means less of it escapes into the atmosphere where it can contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The researchers say that putting as little as 10 percent of existing cropland in rotation with grazing also could reduce cost due to lower inputs, such as herbicides.