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

Treg

Member
Location
Cornwall
Question for the collective, oldest boy will be 25 in a couple of months time and he is managing the 50ac we've got a couple of miles up the road, atm he is looking after our sheep and his cattle ( cattle are his wages)
I feel like it's time for him to start learning the financial side of it, he can look after stock ok, i asked if he would like to rent it and he said he would love to.

What is the best way to get him too see
things from a holistic point of view?
If he were to get it now he would probably plough, reseed it fertilize it and use spray.
Father allways let me try things,
Im not going to tell him to farm a certain way, but try and get him to make his own mind up.
I really need to plant a seed in his mind, and let him grow it.
Any suggestions
I'd leave him get on with it in his own way , just offer advice when needed.
Family teams work best when they don't think alike & bring different aspects to the business.
He's young he will have his own ideas let him run with them while he has the energy to do so , he may bring in new ideas which benefit you both.
 

bendigeidfran

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cei newydd
Its great he has an interest, you are lucky. If he rents it, will he judge his success by rent v production? How to think of things in a longer term way? Its a book not about farming but Antifragile by Nissim Taleb is what I wish I had read at 25. I could have avoided a lot of self made problems
Will look at the book, thanks 👍
Do you often travel together anywhere? Possibly throw Nicole Masters' audibook on in the truck etc? Buy him Gabe Brown's book for birthday or just leave it lying about, maybe "a friend left it and you thought he'd fancy a read?".

Are there any regnerative or holistic management courses/field days/events coming up anywhere near you? (I'm guessing your in Wales, if you know of any let me know too!) Maybe buy 2 tickets and go with him and see what he thinks about it after the event? I was too young to take on my Dad's business, I would've loved the chance even to just have worked with him and learnt on the job.

If he's going to rent it, perhaps put some stipulations on him renting it. Low input, focus on soil health etc.
I had thought about stipulations, wife does not think its a good idea.
Id like him to work it out himself with a little
Help/ promting from me.
@bendigeidfran lead by example. Let him do his way there and you do yours on your bit. When he is the one that writes the cheque for the reseeding he will think more when (if?) it is a disappointment and/or causes more problems with poaching/mineral or health issues etc he will eventually see past the increased grass growth he might see.
When he sees your permanent pasture going well off no inputs and less problems he will start thinking when he writes the next cheque when his reseed is worn out. It's the only way to learn is make the mistakes yourself.
You can still take him to see farms and people but in my experience giving someone something to read is a waste of time. They won't read it and it they do they rarely absorb it. Videos are better but it doesn't mean they pay attention. But seeing something in real life is harder to ignore.
Don't take him anywhere too extreme though. If you took him to see Gabe brown it anyone with grass up to the cows backs he might just laugh and think it's a complete pee take.
Leading by example is somethig i am trying to do, but id say im on the first step of a new path myself, still a lot to learn.



Going to see a farmer that has been Hpg for a while is something i wanted to do when i first heard about it, im sure he'd come along.
And any work you do for him must be charged for. He needs to understand that business has to pay its own way, not rely on handouts be they family or state.

Of course, that means any work he does for you must be paid too.

Note: "paid for" doesn't have to be cash. It can be time owed or good supplied.
Good point about helping him, that is one reason i want him to take it on his own so it should free up some time for me.
But it is good to do some jobs together.
Encourage a "sit down meeting" where you form a holistic financial plan. That's the only true path to holistic business management, eg "we want to make more profit" isn't a goal, just an idea or intention. Everyone has this intent but only a few will plan the how, guided by their why.
This is why so many remain on the fence and/or don't get far from there - they haven't recorded how they're going to get there
Wife has aranged a meeting tomorrow night, ill bear this in mind.

Thank u everyone for your replies, good to have a few second opinions
 

Karliboy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Yorkshire
Photos don’t really show it but grass is badly brown and purple it seems to have gone this way this last 2 weeks maybe due to such late heavy frosts? I don’t know? but I think I’m going to set fences up and get it grazed to try and reset it and get the biology woken up while theres plenty of moisture about
Opinions?
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Another fair frost this morning with a frozen waterpipe
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The hill is looking better and better every spring I’m really chuffed with progress up here and I’m aiming for it to give it another 3 weeks before it’s first grazing so there should be some really good cover on there by then if we can get some warmth
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Cows can now run back inside from the poo weather for there bales as I've had a move around now I’m down to the last 2 to calve this little pasture will have suffer the overgrazing for the time being but it’s getting a fair bit of extra dung though
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Kicked a thistle over and this little one said oh I’ll try that now and scoffed most of it (train them young)
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Remember a while back Joel Salatin was the target of a charge of racism from (I believe) Chris Newman of Sylvanaqua farms? Something that at the time struck me as an opportunistic profile raising attack of convenience. Today I listened, I may have said things out loud, to a podcast featuring Sarah Mock who used to work with/at Sylvanaqua Farms, on "Investing in Regenerative Agriculture and Food" podcast.

fudge me but few things in Ag pushed my buttons like some of the opinions expressed in that podcast. To be fair there was a genuinely interesting part contrasting the farm as an investment/childrens inheritence vs farm as a business/children work/buy into ownership overtime. It's amazing how someone can profess to know so muc yet at the same time know so little, specialisation I guess! There were a few, from my pov, unlikeable opinions expressed but nothing on the level of the revisionism that came next. Apparently, all of us farmers across the planet who ever received a gran/subsidy/cheque in the post in the past have already been paid handsomely for what Joe Public want's today, or tomorrow. That particularly lodged itself in my craw because given how the average (setting on a washing machine) farmer has zero to sfa control over how money is spent or why.

I started to do a little digging and now see that Sylvanaqua Farms has fallen apart pretty much.


I must say two things, if it were a collection of people with opinions as strong as expressed on the podcast I can't say it surprised anyone that they fell out.

The other thing being I can't say I could see Joel Salatin run his ship in that manner.

There's no real point to this post tbh, the force or venom behind the opinions prompted me to post I guess.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
there is an exceedingly rich man, buying land around us, base price £14,500 ac. He is developing a hotel for the exceedingly wealthy, the money spent is mind boggling, he even wanted to move an A road, or tunnel it, the council allowed him to go under ! He has a herd of deer, rare breed sheep, and now l see a herd of british white cattle, all to 'feed' the hotel, an on site butchers, and a deli in the local town. Also a gigantic aviary, for birds of prey. Just set a side 400 acres, to trial the best wheat, to make his own bread, also making buffalo milk ice cream, so a herd of buffalo will shortly appear. All that is achieving, is a lower tax bill, when he dies. There is no way possible to run it at a profit, or even a return on money spent, nearly 200 people working there, building, landscaping, waitresses, cooks, butlers, dossers etc, all it is doing, is pricing us farmers out of the market, we cannot compete.
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
Question for the collective, oldest boy will be 25 in a couple of months time and he is managing the 50ac we've got a couple of miles up the road, atm he is looking after our sheep and his cattle ( cattle are his wages)
I feel like it's time for him to start learning the financial side of it, he can look after stock ok, i asked if he would like to rent it and he said he would love to.

What is the best way to get him too see
things from a holistic point of view?
If he were to get it now he would probably plough, reseed it fertilize it and use spray.
Father allways let me try things,
Im not going to tell him to farm a certain way, but try and get him to make his own mind up.
I really need to plant a seed in his mind, and let him grow it.
Any suggestions
Get him a ticket for Groundswell. 👍
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Do you know anyone who's made a DIY lifter from one of those winches?
Yep, I've made 7 so far, all out being put through their paces. Getting a decent timer with low standby energy requirements was the first problem to solve. Working on reliable limit switching is the next - reed switches are OK, but too much sideways pull on the wire meant the switch couldn't pick up the magnet and the winch ran for approx 10 hours with a broken string

my main issue is that I put it all "up top" where I could put it at ground level - allowing for bigger battery, better switching gear and even allow a small counterweight to assist the little winch. But the Pensagro ones are a mile ahead of my prototypes. I wanted only to get these going with a timer so I can play about with SMS triggering, but I'll be lucky to see them back as old mate loves his self-shifting sheeps
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Just gone back 400 pages looking for old photos and @Blaithin (who we haven’t seen in a while) mentioned the purple leaves is possible low phosphorus uptakes in the grass due to the cold but would come back green
Yes it’ll turn back green. After a few days of warmth you can go out and there won’t be a purple leaf to be found. I’m sure it can even change throughout the day. Go out in the morning, frosty and purple. Warm day, go out in the afternoon, less purple.

If it ever starts to really grow here I’ll try and watch it closer and see what I can see.

Could probably do an experiment and put a little greenhouse over a patch and see how it looks side by side to an uncovered portion.

No need to graze it to reset it. It’s fine.
 

Poorbuthappy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Yes it’ll turn back green. After a few days of warmth you can go out and there won’t be a purple leaf to be found. I’m sure it can even change throughout the day. Go out in the morning, frosty and purple. Warm day, go out in the afternoon, less purple.

If it ever starts to really grow here I’ll try and watch it closer and see what I can see.

Could probably do an experiment and put a little greenhouse over a patch and see how it looks side by side to an uncovered portion.

No need to graze it to reset it. It’s fine.
We've had "little greenhouses" dotted around here and the difference is marked.
There are chicken tractors left around from bird flu lockdown and the green growth under a tarp has convinced me its the cold and wind that has restricted growth here rather than the dry.
Had 2 new mobile polytunnels built for broilers too, and where 1 has been stood prior to be being put into action it's the same.
 
Yep, I've made 7 so far, all out being put through their paces. Getting a decent timer with low standby energy requirements was the first problem to solve. Working on reliable limit switching is the next - reed switches are OK, but too much sideways pull on the wire meant the switch couldn't pick up the magnet and the winch ran for approx 10 hours with a broken string

my main issue is that I put it all "up top" where I could put it at ground level - allowing for bigger battery, better switching gear and even allow a small counterweight to assist the little winch. But the Pensagro ones are a mile ahead of my prototypes. I wanted only to get these going with a timer so I can play about with SMS triggering, but I'll be lucky to see them back as old mate loves his self-shifting sheeps
Limit switching is controlling how long the motor runs to control the lift height?
Why is the wire pulling sideways? Would small pulleys on the polywire stop that by keeping the lifting point centred?
Does your lifter return the wire to it's starting position after a set time?

I'd also think a ground based system would be best for a DIY job, another pulley at the top of the pole.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Limit switching is controlling how long the motor runs to control the lift height?
Why is the wire pulling sideways? Would small pulleys on the polywire stop that by keeping the lifting point centred?
Does your lifter return the wire to it's starting position after a set time?

I'd also think a ground based system would be best for a DIY job, another pulley at the top of the pole.
When you two have got it sorted how about sharing the design on here? ;) (y)
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
We've had "little greenhouses" dotted around here and the difference is marked.
There are chicken tractors left around from bird flu lockdown and the green growth under a tarp has convinced me its the cold and wind that has restricted growth here rather than the dry.
Had 2 new mobile polytunnels built for broilers too, and where 1 has been stood prior to be being put into action it's the same.
A bit of brash wood from hege laying will see the grass growing better and greener when its cold, anything that keeps the wind off a bit,
Open exposed fields are useless this time but ones with trees dotted about and high hedges are much better
 
A bit of brash wood from hege laying will see the grass growing better and greener when its cold, anything that keeps the wind off a bit,
Open exposed fields are useless this time but ones with trees dotted about and high hedges are much better
Yesterday was a good example of that, in shelter it was nice and warm but there was a strong cutting wind out of it. Pasture likes nice conditions the same as anything else alive.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Limit switching is controlling how long the motor runs to control the lift height?
Why is the wire pulling sideways? Would small pulleys on the polywire stop that by keeping the lifting point centred?
Does your lifter return the wire to it's starting position after a set time?

I'd also think a ground based system would be best for a DIY job, another pulley at the top of the pole.
I have a reed switch at the "top" position which kicks out a transistor that runs the winch motor. I use a plastic shower curtain ring on the outside of the tube with a small neomidium magnet glued to it, but what I found can happen is that a "too tight fence", especially a 3 wire with the bottom too tight, it leans the whole pole over and pulls the magnet away from the reedswitch inside. This means the circuit just keeps power to the winch, which then snaps the cord and keeps running empty.

Ideally I'd run an insulated foot, and use an alloy pole so nothing wants to rub on it while 'up' - and have it lower the wire in 30 minutes after the set shift time

You'd do it much more prettily with a kiwitech spring and a battlatch - or copy - and just have it release the fence skyward from a locked down position
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
just come back in from putting tomorrows elec fence up, cow track to it, is soil, there are deepish cracks in it, 6/8 ins, it's not clay, and runs alongside our stream, which there, actually has some water in it. The ley, is in two halves, fed as one, so 50/50 dry ley with plantain and clover, the other prg and clover, the dry runs along under a wood, and very sandy, the bottom deep fertile loam. This is x2 grazing over, and there is a huge amount of grass on both pieces, way more than expected. Field was ploughed behind forage rape, fertile bit drilled last spring, the dry bit, rape, tines and autumn sown. Getting quite excited now, things seem to be turning round, at long last.
We made a very conscious effort last year, to leave longer residuals in that field, and it kept going last summer, amount of grass there, 6/7000, on a plate metre ? Av height, good 12 ins, no seed heads, l know if we had mowed it, it would be a biggish swathe, which means more grass out of grazing platform, for silage. It will be interesting to see how they eat that length grass, something some, have never seen ! The why, l think is the outcome of making lots of little changes, from seed variety, different grazing methods, different cultivations, and luck.
The h/rye and vetches are going great guns, agrominist today described it as 'a hell of a crop', few patches poor due to water logging, if we get some warm rain, it will go into super drive, rye is just starting to head, we aim to cut 18 may, which will be followed my maize, our contractor is trialling runner beans with his, l think we will wait and see how he gets on, instead of trying it ourselves, the trials for a seed house, so we can benefit from there spray usage.
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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