Greetings! I had been telling people for years that cows were the real heroes of the day! I didn't know how much until Greg Judy came out with his video 2 years ago. I then started reading your books, which are fantastic reads, but I have trouble figuring out how to apply your methods to the Northern United States.
It is said that "you can't make money with cow calf east of the Mississippi"! I don't think this is an entirely true statement, but alas, I don't have the finances to get started in beef and happen to have Jerseys and Normandes and crosses. Is it not reasonable for me to plant improved varieties of high total digestible nutrient forages?
I have actually wintered my dry cows on mostly stockpiled fescue, but when they are making milk I have trouble believing I would have the same success grazing mature native forages as one would have with beef. I am even skeptical on how they would perform on improved mature forages without grain supplementation, which is something that I do not do. I am trying to market grass fed dairy from my cows and goats! I think my question is also applicable to those who raise stocker calves or wish to finish beeves on grass alone.
I am asking for this question in regards to folks in the Northeastern, Midwest and Pacific Northwest areas of the United states, but also climates in eastern Europe, Northern Asia and New Zealand and wherever else there is high rainfall. Although the area I am currently in (northern Lower Michigan) is a relatively unique situation. My land is a swampy drainage lowland area with relatively rich, black sand as well as plenty of gnolls and highland of relatively infertile white and golden colored sand. It gets very dry and hot here, often in August and September. The soil is very acidic and I believe to be economical needs liming, but afterwards, in the fields that have been limed, alfalfa, perennial rye, quack grass and birds foot trefoil tend to be the most numerous volunteers. I am planning on planting plenty of improved chicory and am curious about seeding comfrey, Johnsongrass and Eastern Gamma Grass though I am not sure if the later two will overwinter here in what is supposedly zone 4b. I have read that the only forage we can grow here that does not lignify at 90+ degrees is white clover. Is this true?
To summarize I am very interested in holistic management but I am skeptical and at a loss to how it is best applied in high value land and high rainfall land. Thank you for any clues you can give to answer my query!
When you outline your situation which is not all that unusual I know how difficult it is to make all those decisions and do so in a manner that proves profitable step by step as you move toward your goals in life. What I do know after grappling over many years with a great many people I was trying to help, learning as we went seeking some way of achieving consistent results, is that addressing such complexity with our management ways of the past thousands of years is not working over the long haul.
While I can fully understand your being skeptical of new ways, which is healthy. I do suggest you start learning about holistic management as fully as you can because, between the two processes that together make managing holistically possible, you yourself will work out what to do. Please read other posts I have responded to because it will help me get through all the questions I am being asked without constantly repeating.
Also connect with Savory Institute which is at the heart of the development of and training in holistic management globally. Get their free e-newsletter and also learn about their strategy of getting locally led and managed learning hubs around the US and world. Very shortly they have a conference some may want to attend and that is being attended by people from 10 countries currently in early stages of forming such learning hubs – where hopefully we can get people, organizations, universities, NGOs and more collaborating as we all learn faster how to manage holistically. We are going to need tremendous collaboration if we are to produce more food than eroding soil and address climate change which we can neither mitigate or adapt.