It’s not rocket science: healthy soil grows healthy plants. Animals that eat those healthy plants have greater health. The food we eat from those animals provide more nutrition for us. But, the devil is in the detail of how agricultural producers can do that work profitably.
The answer to that challenge was the focus of an article in the Manitoba Cooperator about Holistic Management Certified Educator Ian Mitchell-Innes from South Africa. He recently taught Canadian producers about how to feed both the animals and the plants through holistic planned grazing.
Keys to Grazing Success
Ian says the keys to grazing success are:
- Develop a diversity of plant species in the pasture
- Ensure proper recovery periods for those plants after grazing
- Have green growing plants and brown dormant (or stockpiled) plants for the animals to eat
- Focus on animal performance and health
The diversity of plants creates more resilience in the landscape. It also gives more choice for the animal to eat. Animals need a varied diet just as humans do to be in good health.
Ian says plants hold most of their energy in the top two-thirds of the plant. Animals eating those plants do better if they can moved to new ground after they have grazed plants down by that amount. It is an ideal that some producers are able to do with better grazing planning and management. The more a plant is grazed, the greater the recovery time is needed for that plant.
Ian says,“Producers need to understand that working with nature takes time. Every part of the system has a learning curve to new procedures and it will take time for every part of the system to adjust to the new management techniques before you will really get to see the benefits.”
To learn more about Holistic Planned Grazing, download our free e-book.
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