Notes from a Holistic Grazing Planning workshop with Tony Malmberg of the Savory Institute who is now living in Oregon. The fifth of 6 sessions Funded by a NE SARE professional development grant.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
“Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
To help people want to change, you need to get them to understand how change ties into their core values.
Holistic Management makes us ask “How must I behave far into the future to achieve my desired life?”
Bud Williams marketing = need $, cattle, grass and feed to be in business (cattle are the first thing to come and go as conditions change, without you having to go out of business).
Grazing Plan, a tool to get to your desired quality of life
Form Your Holistic Goal
It includes a Quality of Life Statement = “How we want our daily life to be”
Define Your Means of Production = List what we must do to get that desired quality of life.
Define Your Future Resource Base = “List how we must behave to be able to keep it all going.
“A person talks about what they think about all day long,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Listen for a farmers values.
“We can only manage 3 things: What we think about, money and what we do with our labor.”
Missing Key # 1. The Whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts
Thus, we need to manage the complex system we live in, Best Management Practices aren’t site specific, therefore they aren’t the best way to manage nature’s complexity, a farmer instead, needs support in critically thinking and problem solving, and then must continue to test and modify actions as things change over time.
Missing Key #2: Brittleness
How you manage the tool of rest – in a brittle environment is different than in a more humid one. Applying Rest tends to lead an ecosystem towards low diversity, in a brittle environment and towards more diversity in more humid ones.
Missing Key #3. Predator/Prey Relationships
Missing Key # 4. Time & Timing are everything
Overgrazing = re-grazing the same plant before it is fully recovered. You can think of it as grazing off the roots of a plant. A plant should look like an ungrazed plant before it is regrazed. General rule of thumb, if you overgraze more than 3 times, you start killing off your grass plants.
You should plan grazing based on the slow growth period, and then adjust back when plants are in their fast growth period. This is because what you are actually planning, is that your overall land area will be enough to support your total herd and adequate recovery time for all your plants through out the year. You also need to know which species is the slowest growing in your sword. Then you can determine what you are managing towards. Otherwise you will inadvertently kill off some plant species that you may actually be trying to increase.
You want to focus on the positive goals you are hoping to achieve as your goal will become your main focus, don’t make the problem the goal. You manage for what you want.
“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”