I have two questions:
Background: We run approximately 500 cattle (1/2 ours, 1/2 lessee) on 8800 acres in South Dakota. Land is high plains, mainly rough country with a lot of draws, divided into 10 pastures. Two 1000 acre pastures have a river, the rest have stock dams, and one has a well. A neighbor, Todd Mortenson has been using holistic management since the 1990s and we have been looking at implementing it as well. His carrying capacity on his 8000 acres is 1600 head, not 500. I've watched your TED talk and am looking for funds to attend your conference at the end of June in Colorado. Interestingly, I spent about three hours today wandering about the pastures with Michel Kravcik talking about small water cycle theory and how to implement his Blue Alternative techniques on the land here. We talked a little about how your holistic grazing would work with his system of contour trenches, weirs and dams and other water retention mechanisms, but we didn't know enough to talk any specifics. Here are my two questions:
1. Todd says holistic management is different than mob grazing, but he didn't explain how. For the life of me I can't figure out how mob grazing would work in our area given the amount of fencing needed, and manpower running cows all over the country all day long. Could you explain how your system is different than mob grazing?
2. Many areas in our pastures are turning into hardpan, particularly level areas on hilltops and plateaus. Hardpan is a dry alkaline flat where not much grows but cactus. These areas expand year by year. We have dimished a few by placing mineral tubs and salt blocks in them. The cattle crush the cacti, chop up the surface and poop all over. This has helped in a couple areas but is not consistently effective. Could your system help restore these areas, and how?
Thank you for your time,
Margaret Bad Warrior
Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation
Ziebach County, South Dakota