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Cell grazing sheep  RSS feed

 
Angela Aragon
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Does anyone have experience cell grazing sheep? Gabe Brown recommends planting a diverse array of cover crops accompanied by intensive cell grazing, in which 3/4 of the paddock is matted down and 1/4 is eaten with associated manure deposits, as a method of building soil. I like to think of it as composting in place, without the work of turning a pile.

Gabe does this with cattle, but I was wondering if it also would work with sheep. I am in the process of adding a few sheep to our farm. I know that they have a bad reputation for eating grass right down to the ground. Would the intensive cell grazing described above work to prevent this or will the sheep simply dig through the dense cover crop to reach shoots that are close to the ground? Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can provide.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I don't have much experience with cell grazing sheep, but I have spent time on sheep farms, and have an understanding of cell grazing.  I would think that the ratios would be different depending on the plant community that you establish for your sheep, and would depend on how easy the individual plant species' are to uproot.  The thing about any cell grazing is monitoring the length of time that the animals will be impacting/grazing so that they don't over do either, and the length of time that the plant community takes to recover, so that the animals are not returned before the community is ready for further impact/graziing.  Depending on where you are, you might have to wait for the rains to initiate the recovery, or if you have heaps of water you could irrigate after impact/grazing to enhance regrowth.  Another thing to consider is casting additional seeds on the last day(s) of grazing in a cell in order that the animals trample in the seeds.  Keep the project small for a couple seasons so that you can best observe what is going on.  Monitoring the area and taking extensive notes will give you the best indication as to how to proceed on your land with your sheep.    
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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I am pretty certain that I have heard Gabe Brown discuss the sheep portion of his operation - small, but there and profitable.  I would recommend reaching out to Gabe directly.
 
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