Dismiss Notice
Direct Driller Magazine Issue 2 is now available to read online

click here to read...

Direct Driller

"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Kiwi Pete, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand

    Eh up!

    The idea of starting a thread about Holistic management has been on my mind for ages, if I am honest.
    Lets start by me putting my cards on the table - I have NO formal training, NO books, and NO interest in starting big wars on which way is best.

    I do, however, completely and utterly want to help other farmers share the message, boost farm profits, cut down on negative environmental impacts and create positives for the people I give a toss about - you guys!

    I will need some help, lots of help, to do this - but I feel the timing is right, the future is going to be different climate to farm in, the need to be more adaptable and more resilient will be ever greater than before.
    Questions are being asked... again, I am no expert, but I am answering to the best of my ability on a bunch of different threads and topics - all the answers are largely the same however: manage differently.
    Change how you see the "problem"... :)

    Often it appears that our education is the problem, the way we have been trained to look, and think, and the questions we ask are the problems that invariably turn our best proactive intentions around, and we find ourselves reacting to pressures outside our control?

    The purpose behind this thread is to help each other turn that around - no personal attacks, insults - it really does leave me in despair when I see that side of forums

    I will start by a few tags, feel free to add others as we go... and good luck :nailbiting:

    @Sheila Cooke
    @The Ruminant
    @Farmer Roy
    @Dead Rabbits
    sorry for the inevitable ommissions, we will hopefully attract others along the way

    Now.. where do we start?


    tw15, Nick Adams, awkward and 16 others like this.
  2. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    In the Mud

    Hi Pete,

    From my side - I would like to start out by saying thank you for starting this thread, your patience towards me is very much appreciated, as I know a lot of questions can be a real pita!!

    Oh - and Amazon just delivered the first of my books :LOL::

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  3. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    That is why I admit to being no expert :oops:
    That is a book I do not own, and yet should... already at a disadvantage....

    @CornishTone will want to be here, to watch me squirm under pressure :)

    We could start by addressing your own resource concerns, since you were the lucky straw that broke the camel? :rolleyes:

    That is a term I have picked up - "resource concerns" are a LOT better than "problems" "issues" - in the way "accounts payable" beats the butt off "bills" :(
  4. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    In the Mud
    OK then, to set the stall out, you may have seen from my past rumblings about the land clearing, hay making etc, then the feedback showing how the land we now own has been neglected to the point whereby the pasture is far from ideal in terms of having what some would say are the appropriate diversity - hence why I have opened up and started to view my personal input as being something more than just running a tractor over it and using chems for everything because it is easier to do so.

    As I grow older in years, I am becoming more aligned with the view that we are simply custodians of the land, and we should be mindful of what we are doing, and as such; I wish to reduce the potential damage caused to the environment through my own and my families input to hopefully leave my daughter something more, and additionally move away from the mantra that just because something is legal - does not in my personal opinion justify the ends that it leaves (burying all manner of rubbish just because you can earn a bit of money to do so) kind of thing.

    So there it is - my journey will be a steep learning curve as I am not from a farming background - hence the many questions that I am grateful for many members time spent helping me :)

    The land is all pasture - split into 4 areas. 2 x circa 8 acre plots, 1 x 4 acre plot and then thearea with the house, stables and post and rail paddocks circa 5 acres.
  5. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    In the Mud
    I have not read one page yet - only just delivered as of like 15 minutes ago :LOL:
    Kiwi Pete likes this.
  6. Well I did a Travel Fellowship on it a good few years back and went to meet a few practitioners of it in the USA and in Oz. I did a blog on it and it may still be online. I never met Allan Savory though which was a deliberate decision - I more wanted to see how farmers were trying to interpret it all. I've read the Holistic Management book quite a bit and there is other good literature about to get other feels of things too.

    My feeling from it all is that fundamentally its all about planning. Allan Savory amongst other things used to fly planes and I think when you fly you always go through a checklist and that is pretty much what he has tried to develop with Holistic Management. A planned checklist to aid decision making for land management. So you ask the question - if I do this, what happens elsewhere? It surprising how infrequently we make those decisions especially with regards to issues like flooding, tillage, trees, social issues etc.

    Farm business' are especially important because of environmental implications of economic decisions. Furthermore brittleness is important - the brittleness of your environment can mean your decisions are different to another climate.

    Don't get to into the mob grazing per se thing in my view. Its fascinating, but Savory wanted Holistic Management to be a decision making technique more than a grazing technique. I'm a no tilling pesticide using farmer but I'm also a conservationist and an amateur holistic manager!

    p.s. the book can be a tricky read at first. When I first read it I thought it was very deep and beyond me but as I've got older I've realised I'd misinterpreted some of it. Remember to think for yourself when reading it ie Savory draws on his experience because he has no choice but remember his climate/geography/ lifestyle etc. is different to your own so don't bend what he says to fit you. He's an inspiration though, now and again people come along in life and show you how to think differently and be more thoughtful. I'd say Jordan Peterson is one of those at the moment and for a lot of landowners Savory would be too.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  7. Chae1

    Chae1 Member

    I've got a field of grass that's holistically managed by accident. Must be 20 years plus old not cut for silage. Grows as much grass as new leys. Got 25t/ha of muck a couple years ago.

    It's got a lake on one side where a ditch overflows into it. I'm going to stop giving it N this year and follow this thread with interest.
  8. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    Thanks, great post - and I completely agree - it is planning, that is possibly why I thought I may not see it from the "trained person's perspective" and to hear that straight up has reassured me!

    I learned my Dad's way, so it is possibly with emphasis or bias (or some damn thing, humour probably :ROFLMAO: ) but we are keen hunters, anglers, farmers, it is about planning to help your resources manage themselves in these contexts.
    Have to leave the birds to breed up, the fish have to spawn, and only take what you need to take. (y)

    That is simply applied to grassland management, I would seldom claim to be "mob stocking" here, I do to achieve some extra animal impact at times but it hasn't been routine. We plan to let most of the grass reproduce, with particular interest in the legumes of course.
  9. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    In the Mud
    Oh, and I was watching this too for my mind expansion (or should that read Frying) :whistle:

  10. I’ve watched that a number of times and I do like he way he explains his concept, but I always find it poses more questions than it answers. Which itself is a good thing, it forces you to challenge his concept and find the answers.

    In the brief time he’s given to present his ideas you’d think he just turns livestock into a desert and, hey presto, green cover! Obviously it’s not that simple but it’s just enough info to catch your curiosity!
    Osca, holwellcourtfarm and Kiwi Pete like this.
  11. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    One thing that I have realised in my journey through life is that "new farmers" that is, people that have entered farming from other walks of life, or who have other irons in the fire - they seem to be naturally more inclined to be more holistic in their thought processes than many "farmer, son of farmer" type people - I have often wondered if the inherent complexity of the farming "job" makes it easier to focus on negative aspects... the "problem" focus?

    I dunno. I spend some of the UK night trolling through here and it seems that farmers are intensely worried people, rightly so, because it is very much reliant on things we cannot change.. the "new farmers" by contrast are just so happy to be farming and learning and swept up with the potential of what they have... I see that in UK Jay. I see it in heaps of young farmers too, but the stereotypical farmer around here I guess is similar to anywhere else - fixated with finances and weather and sport.
    Hard to explain, but I'm sure y'all know it.
    Happy, holwellcourtfarm, Treg and 4 others like this.
  12. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    Just caught up with your edit @SilliamWhale and quite agree with that part as well, those of us in fairly robust environments - mud, plenty of rain, slush for fun - it does require quite a leap to see just how similar and yet different methods and practises are between what we conjure up when we think "deserts" - yet principles are very similar.
    Our goals too, they are all following a theme but we all have different weights on the three pillars.
    Some really need the money, some have a love for livestock above much else, some would spend all day on farm and others would like to be home more often... it is important to realise that everyone, every paddock and every ledgerbook is different, and it takes a lot of imagination and searching sometimes.

    Ultimately it pays off, I am probably the happiest farmer I know. That is success as far as I am concerned, because my journey has seen me at rock bottom, and digging.
  13. Agrispeed

    Agrispeed Member

    This looks like a promising thread. The only thing that pisses me off about 'holistic' grazing etc is the bullpoo around it. An actual farmers discussion with practicalities sounds much better (y)

    In good timing I moved the dry mob onto a 2017 herbal ley last night. I'll get some pictures dreckly, but it's been doing a lot better than the more conventional leys in the crap spring we've had.
  14. Henarar

    Henarar Member

    ZumerZet Somerset
    that's a good word I have not heard for a bit, one my dad use to use
    Treg and Kiwi Pete like this.
  15. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    Good that you made it. Was going to tag you in.
    Henarar likes this.
  16. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    Yeah, I hope we can get the BS side of it demystified fairly quickly, a lot of folk can make posting a letter look like launching a boat IMO and a lot of the "labelling" doesn't help anyone much.
    Much of the terminology used is really helpful though, still similar but helps us look at things in what I would call a 'better' way.
  17. Ukjay

    Ukjay Member

    In the Mud
    I do not think the Tag works in this thread, because I never received the alert and I know of one other that never recieved one either (and my settings are allowing alerts).
  18. Kiwi Pete likes this.
  19. Henarar

    Henarar Member

    ZumerZet Somerset
    I will try to keep up/understand and not get to deep/shallow for you :D
  20. Sharpy

    Sharpy Member

    Ardrossan Ayrshire
    Me neither. But thank you @Kiwi Pete
    Crofter64, davieh3350 and Kiwi Pete like this.

Share This Page