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obstacles to ideal grazing  RSS feed

 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Alan, thank you for your great work, and for taking questions.

On my farm I am finding two obstacles to implementing the very high stocking rates and frequent rotations that you favour (to my understanding). The first is a complex topography and a mix of forest / grassland vegetation that makes moving portable fence difficult and time consuming. The second is a real lack of time on a very diverse farm that's run short-handed and can't afford hired labour.

How do I identify the minimum threshold values for stocking rate and timing at which I am beginning to have a positive effect on my land?

If I'm forced to make compromises from an ideal system, what would be the best strategy to minimize damage? (I am currently under-grazing with a very low stocking rate)

Thanks so much..

 
Allan Savory
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Kari sounds all too familiar such difficulties so let’s see if I can make some helpful points. First read all other responses if you can because you will glean a far better idea of what managing holistically is all about. It is about solving such problems yourself albeit with ideas from others.

Also you will learn what holistic planned grazing is and that it is nothing even like rotational grazing or any grazing system – rotational grazing was condemned by Andre Voisin and myself for the same reasons. And for such reasons and as I explained briefly in the TED talk we had to develop something entirely different to address the complexity. Your concerns about stocking rate and timing will also be answered by the planned grazing I believe.

Assuming you do read other responses and get the idea of taking each objective in your management and making sure it is in a holistic context then here are further ideas and thoughts re fencing that you are likely to need.

First, in an earlier comment I pointed out that there is no body of knowledge associated with holistic management (as in permaculture for example) but there are areas where due to the new insights that made the development of the holistic framework possible, there is a body of knowledge. One is in how to layout the infrastructure, such as fencing, access to handling and water etc, when livestock are involved on the land and this will help you with your broken up pattern of land – done well it will lower costs of handling over all the years ahead. Much of that you will find in the appropriate chapter in the handbook accompanying the holistic management textbook (obtainable from SI site). When it comes to portable electric fencing again as you are likely to use there is one thing I have found excellent for reducing time and labour. That is to make your own large eyelets of even hooks out of thick insulated wire. These can then be tied to any form of post – tree, metal post, wood or whatever and then you can use permanent posts but the wire or tape is all you move. And this can be done by detaching at one end and simply winding it up using a home made spool run by an electric drill battery operated. And that can be either on a stand or on a 4-wheeler.

Re final question – almost all livestock operators have too few animals too long on land. I think you will answer this yourself after looking more closely at the things I suggest above. I hope this is helpful.
 
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