Chris Stelzer

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since Feb 17, 2011
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Recent posts by Chris Stelzer

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hey Adam,

You are my "neighbor"! I am half way between Grand Junction and Fruita. I'd love to see your place sometime, maybe get some ideas from what you are doing. If you are interested in seeing my place, I never get tired of show and tell of my works in progress, just give a shout!

On the topic of stockpiling, and going hay free, there is a great program about stockpiling presented by Burleigh County Soil Conservation District (www.bcscd.com). I've tried to find the link, and had no luck. I wrote to them and maybe will hear back by the middle of the week, at which time I will post the link here. But it is exactly what Chris says, along about August, keep your grazers off an area, and don't let them graze it until you would begin your hay season.

Chris, can you help me understand what you mean by keeping the soil covered with "litter" year round? Are you just saying leave some vegetation/cover, don't rake, scrape, burn, till? I've just this season embarked on grazing, have planted some warm season grasses, brought water to some new areas of my 2 and a half acres, and acquired some goats to chomp and grind up and redeposit ...... (that's the trail behind a grazing goat).

I don't have enough eaters to keep up with all that grows, but next season, I am going to try to come closer to balancing eaters with what grows. At this point I am trying to learn all I can. Seems like you might be able to teach me plenty!

Thanks

Thekla



Thekla,

Yes, leaving the soil covered means leaving it covered with vegetation either living or dead. Think of it similar to mulching, but not quite as deep. In my book "The Grazing Book" I tell people to have a little cover between 1-3 inches, as a littler cover of 6+ inches is more like mulch than litter. So, no tilling, burning or anything like that, just leave it alone and cover the soil, it's really that simple (not easy in many cases). Sounds like your looking for more info, a good place to start is my free mob grazing ebook, which you can get from my site.

I hope that was helpful

Chris
5 years ago

Xisca Nicolas wrote:Well, I did ask some very precise questions to know what to measure, and got no answer.
"Too much" is about measuring, and you need to give some criteria so that people can use an advice.

People who do the same thing are not doing holistic management but transform it into a recipe.

If all you need is 10 years experience, then what is the use of books and courses and podcast?



I don't personally use anything for measuring, therefore I felt it would be inaccurate if I gave you steps for measuring. I think grazing is more of an art than a science. Read the two Holistic Management books, there is plenty of techniques in there for measuring things, I just don't have the patience!
5 years ago

Bob Anders wrote:

Michael Cox wrote:Bit over the top Bob - why should he give time to us repeating info that he knows is going to come out in two days time? Chris has already been answering questions in this thread. Also, your post doesn't actually contain a question - just a list of grazing days with no context. What exactly would you be hoping for an answer to? Chris would surely need to know about the state of your pasture, your climate and rainfall, your grazing objectives etc...


I have asked questions if you want to go back and read more than one of my posts. The post you read was a response from something said.

I might of posted a bit over the top. I still see a lot of half way answered questions and a lot of repeating the same stuff over and over with out going into any detail. From the first post...

Chris Stelzer wrote:Yes, High Density Grazing (HDG) is great. However, a lot of people are ALWAYS grazing their livestock at high densities. This leads to a simplification of forage species and compaction of the soil.

has not been elaborated on into any detail. If the details do not come out till sometime Monday than all we are going to read about is the same info over and over.


Even if you grazer every set number of days there are a ton of variables that change between grazings that would make it random. Different temps, amounts of rain, amounts of shade (from trees and sun angle), grazed to a different height, grew to a different height, amount of trampling (how long it takes to recover), and so on. The random items make different grasses or weeds grow at different rates with in the pasture.

I do know one person that grazes before the grass hit's X " because he has issues with pink eye. Because the pastures are always about the same height at grazing time he can eye ball the tonnage and set out padlocks right at the sweet spot every time.

But I do think in the long term I need to stop responding to threads that are leading traffic back to web other websites or that will only exchange details on a time line. When I first posted in this I thought it was going to become a great thread to exchange information between a group of people that had HDG or that were interested in HDG and I was wrong.




Bob, you are welcome to listen to my podcasts and take them for what they are worth to you. No one is forcing you to do anything, but getting a different perspective, even if it's "Wrong" is always beneficial. If you are happy doing what you do and successful, then keep doing it because it obviously is working. I like to present people with new ideas so they can improve their own situation. Here is the podcast I've been reffering to, which I just published today. http://agriculturalinsights.com/episode-076-dick-richardson-on-why-you-need-to-reconsider-high-density-grazing/
5 years ago

Lm McWilliams wrote:

Chris Stelzer wrote: You'll want to listen to the podcast I have coming out on Monday next week.
Dick Richardson explains the how, what and why of high density grazing and how it can possibly
lead to simplification of species.



Hmmm. Seems like this may be another case of not just WHAT tool is used, but HOW it is used.
My initial reaction is that the reduction on species diversity might be more a matter of the rest
periods than the high density stocking...?

Looking forward to the new podcast!



LM, you are correct. It's a tool, we need to think about how often we use and whether or not it's beneficial in the long run.
5 years ago

Michael Cox wrote:

Bob Anders wrote:
At this point if all you will say is I will tell more on Monday then this thread should be locked until the new info is posted. I understand trying to get people ready for something to come out, but at this point this is to the point of stupidity.



Bit over the top Bob - why should he give time to us repeating info that he knows is going to come out in two days time? Chris has already been answering questions in this thread. Also, your post doesn't actually contain a question - just a list of grazing days with no context. What exactly would you be hoping for an answer to? Chris would surely need to know about the state of your pasture, your climate and rainfall, your grazing objectives etc...



Thank you Michael, I agree.
5 years ago

Adam Klaus wrote:Wow Chris, tough for a brother to get a break here. Thanks for taking the time to generously share your knowledge and experience. I see that some are taking a bit of your advice a little too personally, seems like some outside issues coming into this discussion; that's too bad.

I agree, based on my experience, that doing the same thing each year is not desirable for pasture health.

Chris Stelzer wrote:Do wild herbivores graze the same way everyday and at the same densities? I dont think so.



In my case, particularly grazing the same pastures first or last during the year seems to have less than desirable results. Similarly, rotating pastures based on some fixed number of days between grazings. Or grazing pastures to the same height with each rotation. Any or all of these habitual regimines seem to have underirable outcomes.

Recognizing the randomness of natural systems, attempting to introduce a certain amount of managed randomness into our grazing systems seems to be a good way to imitate nature. I find that my pastures are more productive, with a stronger component of desirable species when I follow this philosophy. So in short, I concur with Chris. Settle down fellas.



Adam you are in the correct mindset, keep up the good work. Thanks for sticking up for me as well! If something works for Bob, and he is happy and enjoying his life and work, then I see no problem with what he's doing.
5 years ago

Brian Mallak wrote:

Chris Stelzer wrote:

Brian Mallak wrote:Jerry,
I have a somewhat similar situation with my land. While I have more acreage, I cannot afford to actually fill it to its capacity nor do I have the infrastructure to support that much livestock over winter.
So, what I am doing is using portable poultry fencing to create paddocks. Then I lead with goats (6 of them), and follow with a flock of chickens. I have also been planting buckwheat after the chickens. Looking into planting other weed suppression like crops (mighty mustard, barley, winter wheat etc).
Next year I will get some more live stock for a more complex lead/follow system.
The goats are clearing a paddock (120m) about every 10 days, but the most recent paddock has a heavier stocking rate and it is taking them quite awhile to mow it down.
Had to move the chickens to a new paddock as a result (19 of them).
+1 on the Dexters! I plan I getting a few of them in the next 2-3years.

Hope this helps!



Brain, that sounds awesome, how is that working out for you? Does that netting work for fencing goats? I've heard horror stories! haha



Chris,
So far it is working pretty well.
The goats eat down the brush, shrubs, and small trees, and some weeds and grass (4 Boer and two mixed milkers). I have 3 RIR (over a year old) chickens in with the goats for tick control. Seems to be working well!
The other paddock with the other chickens (French Freedom Rangers, about 12 weeks old) are doing well. The paddocks after both have rotated through are very lush and green, both grass and weeds. I then use a 5/8ths chain harrow to prep for a bed to plant Mannmoth Red Mangles and Forage Turnips for the livestock over winter. I did another paddock with sweet clover and yellow mangles but we had a dry spell for 10 days. The sweet clover has begun to establish itself. The mangles are just now coming up. I think the lack of rain and heat had something to do with it. The buckwheat I planted seems to be stunted as well. Only 3-5inchs tall, a yellow/red color and some are budding out flowers. The buckwheat that was under clumps of grass (effect from the chain harrow) seems to be growing better and much greener.
The fence is engergized by a solar/battery energizer. Puts out about 2.8-4.0k volts depending on the sun. The goats dont try to go over the fence, too small for the chickens, and they have not been bothered by predators. I have seen coyote in the area, and none have taken a goat or chicken. My dogs who have experienced a active fence have not gone near the fence since.

If you or anyone has additional questions, feel free to ask!



Brian that sounds like you are doing a great job and experiencing some success. I think that is a great model from someone to follow who is looking to do something similar. Do you have any pictures?
5 years ago

Adrien Lapointe wrote:So I ran the winner picker app in the forum software and we have two winners

Adam Klaus
and
Nicholas Covey

Congratulations Adam and Nicholas!

I sent you an email to ask for the email address of the person that first referred you to Permies.com. That person (if qualified) will also get a copy of the book.



Thanks for hosting me, it was great to get some new ideas for you all. Congrats to Adam and Nicholas!
5 years ago

Brian Mallak wrote:Jerry,
I have a somewhat similar situation with my land. While I have more acreage, I cannot afford to actually fill it to its capacity nor do I have the infrastructure to support that much livestock over winter.
So, what I am doing is using portable poultry fencing to create paddocks. Then I lead with goats (6 of them), and follow with a flock of chickens. I have also been planting buckwheat after the chickens. Looking into planting other weed suppression like crops (mighty mustard, barley, winter wheat etc).
Next year I will get some more live stock for a more complex lead/follow system.
The goats are clearing a paddock (120m) about every 10 days, but the most recent paddock has a heavier stocking rate and it is taking them quite awhile to mow it down.
Had to move the chickens to a new paddock as a result (19 of them).
+1 on the Dexters! I plan I getting a few of them in the next 2-3years.

Hope this helps!



Brain, that sounds awesome, how is that working out for you? Does that netting work for fencing goats? I've heard horror stories! haha
5 years ago

Bob Anders wrote:I have done a ton of thinking about this. “This leads to a simplification of forage species and compaction of the soil.” (from first post)

You will get soil compaction at first, but if you can make it into the second year most of the time it will go away on it's own. HDG will build up humus in the soil and with tap root plants will keep compaction at bay.

If you have a hard pan issue HDG will make it show up faster, but if properly taken care of once you should not have any other issues for years if you keep equipment off the land.

Simplification is P^Q / .'. Q They make forge yard sticks that have charts on the back to help with the calculation.
Some forages will not thrive in a HDG setting. There are plenty of grasses and “weeds” that would work great.



Bob I think you are right about some things you said, but I share a different opinion on others.

A lot of this has to do with recovery periods. If you have very long recovery periods, and are using HDG, you might be just fine. If you are using 60-90 day recovery periods using HDG, you might run into trouble. Again, you MIGHT. I got this information from Australian/South African Dick Richardson who frequently runs into compaction and simplification of species when people use HDG for long periods of time, over and over. With that being said, your situation might be different.

And it's also my understanding that HDG will break up hardpan or capping of the soil when used properly. Sounds like we might have a different definition of hard pan. Thanks for your comments.
5 years ago