Arid and semiarid rangelands (receiving less than 10 or 20 inches of rain per year, on average, respectively) defy some of the central assumptions of classical ecology and conventional range management. They are highly variable over time and space, making fixed measurements of carrying capacity or “the right” stocking rate questionable. And they do not necessarily revert to a single, “climax” vegetation community when released from grazing.
Month: August 2018
Article on Holistic Management by US ranch-owner who has used approach on his property. Explains why some scientists mistakenly rejected approach. Circle Ranch is a 10,000-hectare property in West Texas, USA. The owner Chris Gill introduced holistic management techniques under guidance from Allan Savory. Results achieved include livestock numbers that have increased by 400%, amount of forage taken has tripled, and substantial increase in profitability.
The Goven Ranch is an 1800 acre cattle and small grain operation located in McLean county, North Dakota. From 1967 to 1986, Gene Goven practiced different grazing management systems. In 1986, he made the shift to Holistic Management and Holistic Planned Grazing (referred in the article as Holistic Management’s former name, Holistic Resource Management or HRM). One of the first observed changes in land health occurred in cool season plants; the use of grazing planning allowed the grazing of cool season plants early in the season and extended recovery periods, which improved the
vigor and growth of these plants. Additionally, a “leap frog” approach to paddock movements eliminated the need for fly control, as the distance between “cow pies” self-limited fly populations.
The health and resilience of the 777 Buffalo Ranch is directly related to the abundance and diversity of its plant and animal species. On the ranch, plant diversity is increasing having many species of native cool and warm season grasses, flowering forbs, shrubs and trees. Deer, elk, antelope, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, badgers, prairie dogs, porcupines, ground squirrels and many other animals share the range with the bison as they have for thousands of years. The ranch is also home to a variety of birds and raptors such as golden and bald eagles, red tail hawks, ferruginous hawks, prairie falcons and many others. Rare grassland birds such as the Baird’s sparrow and Long- billed curlew are found in abundance.
This paper finds that adaptive management using multi-paddock grazing produced superior outcomes on vegetative cover and soil. In a comparison of four grazing schemes: light continuous (LC), heavy continuous (HC), multi-paddock with adaptive management (MP), ungrazed areas – exclusion (EX), the MP lots were better in almost every measure. Factors measured included soil organic matter (SOM), water infiltration rate, water volumetric percentage, cation exchange capacity, fungal/bacterial ratio, percent bare ground and standing biomass of desirable and undesirable plants.
Read full text: “A little bit of a bloody big amount”, Mark Stevenson, chapter from the book An Optimist’s Tour of the Future (2011)
“As part of the war effort, a young scientist is put in charge of a ‘tracker combat unit.’ Even though he is hunting humans he is constantly observing and thinking about the condition of the… Read more »
This papers shows that soils under a grazing method called “simulated holistic planned grazing” (SHPG) have the highest percent volumetric-water content (%VWC) of soils tested under three different grazing methodologies that also included “rest-rotation” (RESTROT), and “total rest” (TREST). The values for volumetric-water content were 45.8%, 34.7%, and 29.8% for SHPG, RESTROT, and TREST respectfully.
I’ve been a climate activist since the millennium turned, twelve long years ago. It’s been an eternity of global-warming days since then. I’ve rallied, marched, petitioned, organized, lectured, blogged, fumed, despaired, studied, argued and hoped. I’ve met leading lights – scientists, writers, and activists – and took their inspiration into the world, signing onto the… Read more »
Organic dairy farm, Dharma Lea, experienced economic, social and ecological benefits when making the switch from rotational grazing to Holistic Planned Grazing. Improvements over three years included a 120% increase in the number of grazing days per year, from 76 days to 167 days per year, which translates into an annual savings of $27,300; a drop in feed cost from 60% to 48% of the total cost of production; improved profitability with a gross margin of 41%; increased carrying capacity of the land, with a 68% increase in grass harvested by cattle on pasture; and more.
Read full paper: Allan Savory Comment On 9-11 (2001) Summary: As the events of the 11th unfolded I found myself so overwhelmed that for an hour or two I simply pulled out of an important planning meeting in which I was engaged. I needed to sit quietly with my thoughts. In my youth, growing up in Rhodesia… Read more »