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

When is a drought man-made?
Thanks @Farmer Roy for this informative article. I have written a blog, Manage for an Effective Water Cycle, on using Holistic Management to improve the Water Cycle in a soggy place like Scotland.

Water Cycle 1 Small.jpg

The farm on the left is set-stock grazed. The farm on the right is holistically-managed. The two photos were taken during the same rainstorm, about 30 minutes apart. The two farms are adjacent to one another and share a fence.
 
Hi Folks,

Please help me spread the good news to Irish farmers! We have funding for training! See article: Irish Funding Available for Holistic Management Training

831888

This coming November, will conduct a public training course at Moy Hill Community Farm in County Clare, Ireland (pictured above) thanks to funding from National Organic Training Skillnet (N.O.T.S.)

This is the third time N.O.T.S. have given us funding -- thank you N.O.T.S.! Does anybody know about similar funding for farmer training in the UK?

@Kiwi Pete, @holwellcourtfarm
 

Attachments

Hi Folks,

Please help me spread the good news to Irish farmers! We have funding for training! See article: Irish Funding Available for Holistic Management Training

View attachment 831888
This coming November, will conduct a public training course at Moy Hill Community Farm in County Clare, Ireland (pictured above) thanks to funding from National Organic Training Skillnet (N.O.T.S.)

This is the third time N.O.T.S. have given us funding -- thank you N.O.T.S.! Does anybody know about similar funding for farmer training in the UK?

@Kiwi Pete, @holwellcourtfarm
I don't know of any around here but AHDB keep on about the need for "knowledge transfer" and might cough up some funding. I think @exmoor dave has mentioned some training funding around his part of the UK in the past as well.
 
Thanks @Farmer Roy for this informative article. I have written a blog, Manage for an Effective Water Cycle, on using Holistic Management to improve the Water Cycle in a soggy place like Scotland.

View attachment 831884
The farm on the left is set-stock grazed. The farm on the right is holistically-managed. The two photos were taken during the same rainstorm, about 30 minutes apart. The two farms are adjacent to one another and share a fence.
That's so typical of the contrast we notice here - and we're only just starting out. ..comparing to rotational grazing, rather than continuous grazing, the contrast between having production goals vs landscape function goals.

Walking the land here, reminds me of walking on an old wooden floor, ie you can feel each others footfalls through the soles of your own feet.

We're still struggling to maintain litter right through the wet season though.
20190907_101546.jpg
going by the colour of the topsoil though, it hasn't all left for inner space.
 
That makes sense to me, how long do you think we are talking a week or two?
Just thinking about this last night as I fell asleep - did you mention in an earlier post that you're supplementing your flock with minerals?
It could perhaps be a slight min deficiency issue as well, ie iodine or cobalt levels being low can contribute to loose stock - but I doubt your stock are lacking much, zooming in on them they look a picture of health.
 

exmoor dave

Member
Location
exmoor, uk
I don't know of any around here but AHDB keep on about the need for "knowledge transfer" and might cough up some funding. I think @exmoor dave has mentioned some training funding around his part of the UK in the past as well.

Unfortunately the organisation I chair is on the other side of the fence, in that we're chasing funding too.
What we do' do (and do very well) is sign post and often host events in partnership with other bodies.

If there's enough interest from members or one of the peer support groups in the network we can usually find funding
 

GreenerGrass

Member
Location
Wilts
Just thinking about this last night as I fell asleep - did you mention in an earlier post that you're supplementing your flock with minerals?
It could perhaps be a slight min deficiency issue as well, ie iodine or cobalt levels being low can contribute to loose stock - but I doubt your stock are lacking much, zooming in on them they look a picture of health.
Thanks KP! I blood tested them before and everything was fine, Copper came back a bit low in one, but the vet wasn't too concerned. I know that's just a snapshot. and it always niggles me that I don't have forage samples, but I know they have drawbacks and variation too. I've got some garlic and salt lick buckets with them, "just in case", they contain a few elements as well will photograph a label later.

I actually was reading a thread on iodine elsewhere on here, and I bought some KI pharmaceutical grade. Where the ram lambs are I have to take water to the field, so I was going to give them a very dilute amount in the water (because some may drink more). Just to see if it does anything. I know their biology is probably adjusting to the new grass also, so it might be a false positive. I've 85 ram lambs, so I was figuring adding 10 grams total (split 2grams each)over 5 x20 litres old lick buckets that I am using as water troughs). They should drink that over about 2 days in current weather. Hopefully everyone will get some and no-one would get too much. I think they excrete surplus anyway, so probably only an o/d risk if you horsed it into them?
 
Thanks KP! I blood tested them before and everything was fine, Copper came back a bit low in one, but the vet wasn't too concerned. I know that's just a snapshot. and it always niggles me that I don't have forage samples, but I know they have drawbacks and variation too. I've got some garlic and salt lick buckets with them, "just in case", they contain a few elements as well will photograph a label later.

I actually was reading a thread on iodine elsewhere on here, and I bought some KI pharmaceutical grade. Where the ram lambs are I have to take water to the field, so I was going to give them a very dilute amount in the water (because some may drink more). Just to see if it does anything. I know their biology is probably adjusting to the new grass also, so it might be a false positive. I've 85 ram lambs, so I was figuring adding 10 grams total (split 2grams each)over 5 x20 litres old lick buckets that I am using as water troughs). They should drink that over about 2 days in current weather. Hopefully everyone will get some and no-one would get too much. I think they excrete surplus anyway, so probably only an o/d risk if you horsed it into them?
I am not much of a host when it comes to giving minerals, and I readily admit it - I personally don't really see any deficiencies in our tests or stock. Plus my ewes seemed to handle their naked environment pretty well without.

I did take @Global ovine's advice regarding spreading selenium prills, which was really easily done while chucking seed on with my little spinner.

It'll be an interesting 'experiment' to see how your sheep are in a fortnight - bear in mind that "days in the sun" often reflects the mineral content of the forage - rapid growth can often equal dilution, just as is the case with our own food.
 

awkward

Member
Location
kerry ireland
Thanks KP! I blood tested them before and everything was fine, Copper came back a bit low in one, but the vet wasn't too concerned. I know that's just a snapshot. and it always niggles me that I don't have forage samples, but I know they have drawbacks and variation too. I've got some garlic and salt lick buckets with them, "just in case", they contain a few elements as well will photograph a label later.

I actually was reading a thread on iodine elsewhere on here, and I bought some KI pharmaceutical grade. Where the ram lambs are I have to take water to the field, so I was going to give them a very dilute amount in the water (because some may drink more). Just to see if it does anything. I know their biology is probably adjusting to the new grass also, so it might be a false positive. I've 85 ram lambs, so I was figuring adding 10 grams total (split 2grams each)over 5 x20 litres old lick buckets that I am using as water troughs). They should drink that over about 2 days in current weather. Hopefully everyone will get some and no-one would get too much. I think they excrete surplus anyway, so probably only an o/d risk if you horsed it into them?
Dock weed is naturally high in iodine do u notice any of ur stock eating it
 

awkward

Member
Location
kerry ireland
I am not much of a host when it comes to giving minerals, and I readily admit it - I personally don't really see any deficiencies in our tests or stock. Plus my ewes seemed to handle their naked environment pretty well without.

I did take @Global ovine's advice regarding spreading selenium prills, which was really easily done while chucking seed on with my little spinner.

It'll be an interesting 'experiment' to see how your sheep are in a fortnight - bear in mind that "days in the sun" often reflects the mineral content of the forage - rapid growth can often equal dilution, just as is the case with our own food.
Not a fan of the se prills . Prefer to put it through the water. I can keep more accurate account of what they consume
 
Not a fan of the se prills . Prefer to put it through the water. I can keep more accurate account of what they consume
We'll go that way as well, however I am quite the opposite when it comes to accurate dosing.
If I put 40ha worth on 40ha, then that's near enough for me... however we don't have anything really limiting, either. Most TE levels are good as gold, including the ones that most generally need to supplement.
I really only used it (prills) because they cost nothing, and helped me bulk out the seed a little.
Being a fertiliser spreading contractor man is really quite handy at times!
 
I am not much of a host when it comes to giving minerals, and I readily admit it - I personally don't really see any deficiencies in our tests or stock. Plus my ewes seemed to handle their naked environment pretty well without.

I did take @Global ovine's advice regarding spreading selenium prills, which was really easily done while chucking seed on with my little spinner.

It'll be an interesting 'experiment' to see how your sheep are in a fortnight - bear in mind that "days in the sun" often reflects the mineral content of the forage - rapid growth can often equal dilution, just as is the case with our own food.



"Days in the sun" certainly influences mineral content until the leaf age gets into maturity and the plant then starts turning it off, such as Ryegrass once it starts to produce another tiller after the 3rd leaf is mature. However if the soil has a naturally low level of any TE, all the sun in the world will not create more of what is already low. Both fast growth of both pasture plants and animals consuming them dilutes the TEs/kg DM. Farms with the highest output of product run into TE problems first in their locality.
As we"farmers" of soils and sunshine grow more DM, so it increases the drain on TE reserves. The lucky farmers are those whose soils are derived from parent materials high in TEs. But huge pastoral and arable regions around the world have soils derived from sandstone, or alluviums predominantly from eroded sandstones which are notoriously low in most TEs.

Be very careful if supplementing via drinking water, getting the decimal place wrong can have adverse effects with some TEs are the T stands for TRACE. A dosetron is excellent kit if using reticulated stock water. However applying them to pastures is very easy, iodine excluded due to its solubility and loss via leaching.
 
"Days in the sun" certainly influences mineral content until the leaf age gets into maturity and the plant then starts turning it off, such as Ryegrass once it starts to produce another tiller after the 3rd leaf is mature. However if the soil has a naturally low level of any TE, all the sun in the world will not create more of what is already low. Both fast growth of both pasture plants and animals consuming them dilutes the TEs/kg DM. Farms with the highest output of product run into TE problems first in their locality.
As we"farmers" of soils and sunshine grow more DM, so it increases the drain on TE reserves. The lucky farmers are those whose soils are derived from parent materials high in TEs. But huge pastoral and arable regions around the world have soils derived from sandstone, or alluviums predominantly from eroded sandstones which are notoriously low in most TEs.

Be very careful if supplementing via drinking water, getting the decimal place wrong can have adverse effects with some TEs are the T stands for TRACE. A dosetron is excellent kit if using reticulated stock water. However applying them to pastures is very easy, iodine excluded due to its solubility and loss via leaching.
It often surprises me how many coastal properties have very low sodium, to the extent it's limiting stock performance - even those of us in earshot of the surf.
Do you know if cobalt levels can be too high? What that would affect?

All tests here (liver biopsy, herbage and soil tests) consistently show a great abundance of cobalt, regularly 4-5× the recommendation in winter soil testing, and 'worse' during the growing season.

You raise a really good point about production, to a great degree we're attempting to avoid future overproduction in lieu of extracting more value from what we feel comfortable producing.
I personally believe overproduction is the real enemy facing farmers worldwide, so I really want to limit the time we spend chasing the unicorn of producing more for no benefit
 
It often surprises me how many coastal properties have very low sodium, to the extent it's limiting stock performance - even those of us in earshot of the surf.
Do you know if cobalt levels can be too high? What that would affect?

All tests here (liver biopsy, herbage and soil tests) consistently show a great abundance of cobalt, regularly 4-5× the recommendation in winter soil testing, and 'worse' during the growing season.

You raise a really good point about production, to a great degree we're attempting to avoid future overproduction in lieu of extracting more value from what we feel comfortable producing.
I personally believe overproduction is the real enemy facing farmers worldwide, so I really want to limit the time we spend chasing the unicorn of producing more for no benefit

The literature does cover cobalt toxicity, however it states that it would be extremely rare in NZ (I would suggest most of the UK too) as cobalt problems have always been acute deficiency, unless ruminants were repeatedly dosed with oral cobalt treatments increasing bloods to over 400ppm.
I have no idea what the symptoms would look like, other than reported sudden deaths post high treatment. This stresses the importance of the decimal place if people treat drinking water with Trace elements.

Be very wary of soil cobalt test as it combines and accumulates with manganese when soils are water logged. Only use pasture tests in association with animal blood tests. Brassica crops are notorious for their sulphur compounds to lock up all TEs in the rumen, despite the forage being amply supplied, leading to certain TE deficiencies including cobalt. Over liming can lead to reduced cobalt levels.......over a pH of 6.5 pasture/forage cobalt levels decline linearly.
So the proof lies in the animal, which may not reflect the pasture/forage status and certainly not the soil status.

Over production only occurs when the producer is trying to produce more than the lowest limiting factor allows. Trace element deficiencies are usually the easiest and cheapest to correct, allowing production levels to rise to a new equilibrium. The stupidity arises when large doses of macro elements are needed and soil structure is compromised by insufficient plant variety and or cultivation.
 

RushesToo

Member
Location
Fingringhoe
The literature does cover cobalt toxicity, however it states that it would be extremely rare in NZ (I would suggest most of the UK too) as cobalt problems have always been acute deficiency, unless ruminants were repeatedly dosed with oral cobalt treatments increasing bloods to over 400ppm.
I have no idea what the symptoms would look like, other than reported sudden deaths post high treatment. This stresses the importance of the decimal place if people treat drinking water with Trace elements.

Be very wary of soil cobalt test as it combines and accumulates with manganese when soils are water logged. Only use pasture tests in association with animal blood tests. Brassica crops are notorious for their sulphur compounds to lock up all TEs in the rumen, despite the forage being amply supplied, leading to certain TE deficiencies including cobalt. Over liming can lead to reduced cobalt levels.......over a pH of 6.5 pasture/forage cobalt levels decline linearly.
So the proof lies in the animal, which may not reflect the pasture/forage status and certainly not the soil status.

Over production only occurs when the producer is trying to produce more than the lowest limiting factor allows. Trace element deficiencies are usually the easiest and cheapest to correct, allowing production levels to rise to a new equilibrium. The stupidity arises when large doses of macro elements are needed and soil structure is compromised by insufficient plant variety and or cultivation.
@Global ovine That is very concentrated amount of information in a very understandable format. Hard to do well, and you have.
 
Anyone have any thoughts on stock that are adapted to farms that are deficient in trace elements?
We are low iodine here according to soil and forage samples (haven't done any blood tests yet) but it doesn't seem to be causing any problems.
Looking back over the years I think it has caused problems like dopey calves that wouldn't suck maybe a few dead lambs because of it but not many. But we didn't know what it was until I read about iodine deficiency on here (believe it or not we didn't have any internet till a few years ago so finding things out was hard work) accepted it as normal and culled any problems. Now we don't have any typical iodine deficiency looking problems. Cows get in calf, ewes and lambs are performing as I'd expect. So did I cull my way out of a trace element deficiency? I will add that we never had awful trouble enough to go to a vet for just a few calves every year that wouldn't suck and everyone round here moans about that. Odd lambs that appeared never to get up if born alive but again not many.
It used to be well known around here not to buy any sheep from where there were either lead or copper mines because the sheep born there wouldn't thrive and possibly would die if they came from there to anywhere else. So I'm guessing that they would be adapted to thrive off high levels of those minerals could the same thing happen in reverse?
I've been meaning to get some minerals into my stock to try and improve the low levels but if there isn't a problem I might just be spending on something that I don't need?
 
As above - the answer lies in the animal?
I would think very carefully about what I was shaping in regards to breeding animals, not so much when it comes to fattening stock.

Intervention can greatly alter our perception of reality, especially when it comes to selecting the best animals for the purpose - unless that's where you want to take your flock...?
There's a great divergence of opinion on this topic, you can soon create a need for intervention, to put it bluntly.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
158,211
Messages
3,615,238
Members
39,955
Latest member
Gerald

Creamy, untreated and in a glass bottle: Britain gets a taste for old-fashioned milk

  • 46
  • 0


Creamy, untreated and in a glass bottle: Britain gets a taste for old-fashioned milk

Written by Freya Herring

Dairy farmers cash in on a growing trend to replace both homogenisation and plastic with a revival of the traditional ways
“When the milk price crashed five years ago, we were in a bad...
Top