Our friends at TomKat Ranch have done some great work on researching how to implement bale grazing in their Mediterranean climate in central California near Pescadero. “Bale Grazing – Stewardship During Drought to Grow Soil Health” by Mark Biaggi and Celia Hoffman chronicles the efforts of the TomKat team to experiment with bale grazing in the winter of 2020/2021 as well as the results they noted from that experiment in 2021.
They chose that time of year to reduce any pugging damage when the soil was dry, to save ungrazed pastures, and to build soil health in areas that needed some support.
They selected Lone Tree Hill, a 15-acre field with low productivity located away from a main waterway (to guard against nutrient runoff) for the bale grazing trial because it was a minimally productive area. They they fed a combination of alfalfa hay and milo bales over a limited area for 28 days in November 2020.
As you can see from the data collected, the bale grazing results are impressive including an over 650% increase in water infiltration rates which are extremely important for such arid environments where every drop of water counts and such water infiltration increases are critical to build drought and land resilience, as well as significant increase in production as seen in the pictures below.
Click here to read the full article and research results.
Photo Credits: TomKat Ranch