Our friends at PastureMap, recently shared an interview with Brian Alexander. Brian manages the 7,000 acre Alexander Ranch in South Central Kansas, using holistic planned grazing. In 2016, their operation was completely burned in the Anderson Creek Wildfires.
Brian had almost 4,000 pounds of fuel/acre on his property when the wildfires hit. Everything burned to the ground. While this experience was a devastating blow, he learned that recovery from a wildfire has to be treated like a massive defoliation event or like severe drought or overgrazing. In other words, you’ve got to destock and let the grass have time to recover before grazing it. Brian also notes that he was careful not to graze it as hard the first year after the fire, and only took 35% of the forage. But, he said the worst thing you can do is let those burn areas go fallow. “Grasslands need grazing pressure. Periodic, high-intensity, short duration grazing. If you’ve read any Holistic Management—it’s mentioned at least three times a chapter. I’m saying that because I’ve seen it work for thirty years. I know it works,” says Brian.
Brian also used a lot of volunteer help (99% of the work) to get rid of all the burned fencing and put up new fencing. He says, “Don’t be afraid to get on Facebook and reach out to people—people who live in the city, millennials, and say ‘Hey, we’re affected by this fire and we could sure use a little help rebuilding if you wouldn’t mind coming out and helping us for a day or two’.”
His last words of advice to those who have experienced wildfire is: “Don’t panic. It will rain. The grasslands always recover. It’ll recover with or without our help. The more we’ve disturbed it in the past, the more management and care it needs going forward from a fire to recover properly.”
Individualized Distance Learning Course in Holistic Grazing Planning
Do you want to increase forage production? Do you want to respond effectively and quickly to challenges like drought and wildfires?
Would you like a grazing process that helps you better manage your animals?
Are you ready to heal the landscape and improve wildlife habitat with livestock?
In this course you will learn the key grazing planning principles and practices for improving land health and productivity. You will learn the steps to this simple approach to grazing planning so that you can better analyze and address critical grazing considerations, as well as determine forage inventory, animal needs, and grazing and recovery periods.
This course begins when you sign up and is 100% one-on-one learning with a Holistic Management Certified Educator.