healthy land. sustainable future. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010
Dairy Pasture Grazing Management—
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Improving Organic Matter and Pasture Performance While Maintaining Milk Production
by Tracy Favre and Kelly Shea
n today’s challenging economic times, dairy pasture management techniques that can improve pasture performance while maintaining milk production are critical to controlling costs. If, additionally, those same techniques can also improve overall land health, and increase soil organic matter, then a dairy operation can significantly benefit both now and into the future. Holistic planned grazing can offer dairies techniques for managing grazing pastures in such a way that costs of production, particularly feed costs, can be reduced; and pasture performance improved, while building soil health and increasing soil organic matter. In this article we explore the challenges associated with organic dairy pasture management and how the implementation of a holistic planned grazing program is being used at Horizon Organic to control costs while improving overall land health, including increasing soil organic matter (sometimes through conjunction with other management tools).
Project Background In 2005, Horizon Organic, a nationally recognized organic dairy company, engaged Holistic Management International (HMI) to provide training and mentoring in Holistic Management processes to dairy staff at the company owned farms, beginning at their Maryland and Idaho locations and then at a joint venture in New Mexico. The impetus behind the program was recognition of the need to continue to advance sustainability programs for pasture management, addressing USDA regulations (as the dairies are certified organic), and without sacrificing milk production or profitability.
In a variety of settings and climates, Holistic Management, and the tool of holistic planned grazing, has been shown to enhance forage production and increase soil organic matter, while maintaining animal performance. The challenge for this particular program was implementation of these processes in complex dairy operations, across multiple locations and within a matrixed decision-making environment.
A Holistic Approach The foundation of Holistic Management principles is that the natural world functions in wholes, and therefore must be managed as such. Horizon is dedicated to the principle that the natural complexity of land, livestock, and plants are inter-related and must be managed together, not separately. This means that for the program to be successful, pasture management must become a function of the overall objectives of the operation. The “holistic” approach focuses on regenerating the environment and managing all aspects of the dairy farms, not individually but as part of a whole ecosystem. A well-run, holistically managed pasture converts sunlight into milk through cows. The pastureland’s health is crucial to the cow’s health and that relates to and benefits consumers, the surrounding community, and the environment. “Sustainable” or “regenerative” agriculture cannot be an event, a prescription, or a standard. It must be an ongoing process of producing, while actually regenerating and even enhancing natural resources. This process sustains life for the communities that surround the dairy farms— now and in the future. A holisticgoal ties each of the dairy farms to an overall vision that guides their approach to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
With planned grazing the 777 Buffalo Ranch has been able to allow for adequate recovery of prairie grasses as evidenced in this picture. To learn more, turn to page 5.
FEATURE STORIES Resilience on the Prairie Edge— The 777 Buffalo Ranch 5
KIRK GADZIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Integrating Holistic Management and Permaculture for Land Planning 7 Data Mine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
BY MARY JOHNSON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LAND and LIVESTOCK Economics of Biodiversity— The Market Value of Biological Capital JOHN KING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cropping to Maximize Soil Cover, Energy Flow, and Diversity TONY MCQUAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When All is in Balance— Managing in Nature GEORGE WAGNER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NEWS and NETWORK From the Board Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Texas Regional Office Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Certified Educators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
healthy land. sustainable future.
Holistic Management International works to reverse the degradation of private and communal land used for agriculture and conservation, restore its health and productivity, and help create sustainable and viable livelihoods for the people who depend on it.
STAFF Peter Holter . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Executive Officer Tracy Favre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Senior Director Jutta von Gontard . . . . . Senior Director of
Programs & Grants Kelly King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chief Financial Officer Ann Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Editor, IN PRACTICE and
Senior Director of Education Amy Normand . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Director, Texas Donna Torrez . . . . . . . . . . . Manager: Administration & Executive Support Peggy Cole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regional Project Manager, Texas Liz Goulding . . . . . . . . . . . . . Administrative Associate, Texas Mary Girsch-Bock . . . . . Communications Associate Valerie Grubbs . . . . . . . . . Accounting Associate Carrie Nelson . . . . . . . . . . . Education Associate
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ben Bartlett, Chair Ron Chapman, Past Chair Roby Wallace, Vice-Chair John Hackley, Secretary Christopher Peck, Treasurer Sallie Calhoun Lee Dueringer Judi Earl Gail Hammack Ian Mitchell Innes
Clint Josey Jim McMullan Jim Parker Maryann West Dennis Wobeser
The David West Station for Holistic Management Tel: 325/392-2292 • Cel: 325/226-3042 email@example.com Joe & Peggy Maddox, Ranch Managers
Dairy Pasture Grazing Management managing the land. Dairy farm management decisions consider the environmental, social (animals and people), and economic implications. At the heart of the holisticgoal is a future resource base description, which describes what resources: land, labor, capital, etc., must be maintained for the operation to reach its goals. In the case of the dairy operations, management along with dairy staff developed a future resource base for each location. The future resource base for one dairy location reads: “The dairy is a pasture-based dairy that maximizes forage productivity while simultaneously balancing the needs of the animals, the health of the pasture, labor, and capital expenditures. Crop production is an integral part of the dairy operations, and pastures are a mixture of both perennials and annuals. The pasture ratio of perennials to annuals maximizes forage throughout the year and may change, according to productivity and efficiency. Weed control, including quack grass control, is important from both a pasture and a cow health standpoint. All tools that comply with organic and local/state/federal regulations are available to use. These may include mowing, interseeding, aerating, irrigating, grazing, composting, and others. As land is transitioned to organic, dairy management will create appropriate capital expenditure plans for necessary infrastructure, such as permanent/temporary fencing, irrigation, livestock water, and travel lanes for increased efficiency and increased health of the land.” Horizon recognized the value in sustainable pasture management, both as it relates to being good stewards of the lands they manage, as well as a means of controlling production costs while maintaining animal wellbeing. The future resource base for each location provides to dairy personnel the long-term vision of the operation towards which management should be based. Annual monitoring provides the yardstick by
continued from page one which to measure progress towards the future vision. Because each dairy operation is pasture based, long-term sustainable management of pastures is critical to the dairy’s success. The tool of holistic planned grazing provides the means by which personnel can ensure that forage production and quality is maintained while maintaining milk production. The overall format of the Holistic Management Framework is: Plan, Implement, Monitor, Control (for minor adjustments) and/or Re-plan (for major corrections). An assumption is made at the planning stage that any plan might be wrong, and monitoring systems are put in place to capture the first indicator for deviation from plan.
Implementing Holistic Planned Grazing In any environment, overgrazing and damage from trampling bear little relationship to the number of animals, but rather relate to the amount of time plants and soils are exposed to the animals. Much of the land deterioration that has occurred in brittle environments around the world began when humans severed the vital relationship between grazing animals and grass. Through the cow-to-grass relationship on Horizon’s farms, management can more accurately predict how the land is responding to their management practices. The complexity of holistic planned grazing implementation at a dairy operation begins with the frequent herd moves required for daily milking, and continues with management of multiple herds that are inherent in Horizon’s dairy operation, the coordination of pasture irrigation, and crop management. In order to ensure sufficient pasture forage for dairy herds on a finite amount of land, the pastures must be managed for maximum forage production, while at the same time, providing high quality forage necessary for animal wellbeing and consistent milk production. Holistic planned grazing is based on age-old predator/prey dynamics. The dairy cattle are managed so that
HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE (ISSN: 1098-8157) is published six times a year by: Holistic Management International 1010 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505/842-5252, fax: 505/843-7900; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.; website: www.holisticmanagement.org COPYRIGHT © 2010
HMI was originally founded in 1984 by Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield. They have since left to pursue other ventures.
September / October 2010
Cows in pasture being managed with holistic planned grazing
they are bunched fairly closely together, grazing and moving constantly across the current paddock. The timing of paddock moves is dependent on the volume and quality of forage available, making sure to provide for sufficient recovery of pasture plants before grazing again. The three farms in which the company is invested all have rigorous pasture amendment programs. However, the additional benefits of holistic planned grazing are the ability to utilize the tool of animal impact to deposit plant litter and to break up soil surfaces creating ideal conditions for germination of new seedlings, along with the deposition of beneficial microbes from the rumens of the grazing animals to the soil to create soil environments that support breakdown of organic matter and help speed remineralization. Ideally, grazing management is planned prior to the beginning of each grazing season, with herd moves and paddock configuration determined by the availability of planned forage and total herd numbers. Herd moves are planned in advance so that an estimate can be made of the forage available during the grazing season, including provisions for any stockpiling of forage for the non-growing season. Grazing plans are charted out using specially designed grazing management forms. The planning charts include provisions for recording plans for planting of any annual crops, irrigation requirements, etc. The visual format of the charts allows for quick recognition of any conflicts between planned grazing and other operational activities. Grazing planning is an iterative process, with planned moves modified as forage production and grazing operations are evaluated throughout the growing season. As the grazing season progresses, the charts are updated for both planned and actual herd moves, so that a historical record of the grazing that actually has taken place is captured, as well as projections for future herd moves. At the end of a grazing season, the information captured on that season’s grazing charts are analyzed to assist in planning for the upcoming season. Depending upon the geographic location of the dairy, the milking herd, heifers, and dry cows may all be out on grazing pastures as early as late March to the first week in May. The challenge in the spring green-up is to manage the forage so that the herds begin grazing late enough to ensure quality forage, but not so late as to allow pastures grazed subsequently to have become overly mature. Using the holistic planned grazing charts from previous seasons allows the dairy staff to evaluate which pastures should be grazed first, with the objective of not grazing early in the season on the same paddocks as were grazed early
Cows are healthier due to increased exercise, at times walking up to one and a half miles from the milking parlor to pasture.
the previous season. Without close attention to this information, early grazing of the same paddocks in multiple years can led to gradual pasture quality decline. An objective of Horizon is perennial pastures, with annual pastures used as necessary to make up for any summer slump in perennial production. Grazing management is therefore geared to maximize perennial forage production. Grazing at the dairies for both irrigated and any non-irrigated native pastures are managed in the same way, with the realization that non-irrigated native pastures will require additional recovery time compared to the irrigated pastures. With the milking, heifers, and dry-cow herds all out on pastures during the grazing season, the overall feed ration at the bunk is reduced without loss of animal wellbeing or milk production. However, close attention must be paid to the formulation of the supplemental feed ration to accommodate the changing nutritional content of the grazed forage throughout the growing season.
Monitoring As the structure of the Holistic Management framework is, “Plan, Implement, Monitor, Control and Re-plan,” annual pasture monitoring and soil testing are components of the program. Each dairy has established permanent monitoring transects where data is collected on an annual basis by dairy staff. Transects are located based on their ability to be representative of either soil or forage types, thus not requiring transects in each paddock. During the data collection process, photos are taken both laterally along the transects, and directly downward to depict the soil surface conditions. Data from a number of randomly selected monitoring points along the transect, as selected by the throw of a dart or other anchoring tool, are collected. Indicators of forage and soil health are collected, including, but not limited to, the following: distance to nearest perennial plant, condition of nearest perennial plant, average distance between plants, plant and animal species inventory, insect and/or animal activity (including worm castings) and litter cover.
In addition, each dairy also collects soil samples to track soil organic matter and to test for any soil amendment requirements. Water infiltration rates and penetration depths are measured for feedback into the irrigation programs so that water is conserved to the fullest extent possible. The irrigation program is closely monitored to react to and reflect changing soil moisture and changing weather conditions. The analysis of this monitoring data is then fed back into the grazing planning activities for next season, and should the data indicate that grazing management is not leading towards the future resource base, as defined for that dairy, grazing planning for the upcoming season is modified accordingly.
Project Implementation The training program at each dairy typically involves a Holistic Management® Certified Educator (CE) being on-site for two days each month. During the early stages of the program, the HMI CE’s provided training on the basic concepts of Holistic Management to designated dairy personnel. As the program has progressed, monthly activities include working with dairy staff to review grazing moves during the previous months and to discuss any challenges or questions they might have. Additionally, the HMI CE walks the pastures to assess current forage production and to evaluate the grazing decisions that have been made. As part of the on-going evaluation of the dairy personnel, HMI developed a skills set evaluation form that allows the CE’s to track the progress of the transfer of skills of individuals. These evaluations are ideally done at least twice per year, but at a minimum should be conducted annually. The intent of the training and mentoring program is to transfer the necessary skills to designated dairy personnel so that they can continue the Holistic Management processes on their own.
Challenges with Implementation While, overall the program has been CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
Dairy Pasture Grazing Management successful, it has not been without its challenges. For example with the recent economic downturn, Horizon made a decision to reduce herd sizes and milk output from its company operations, thereby protecting the family producer-partner farms across the U.S. that were also shipping milk to the brand. As a result, the fluctuating herd sizes have meant mid-season re-planning of the grazing management; changes in paddock configurations have been required to facilitate these and other management changes. The necessity of multiple herds at each dairy has increased the complexity of the grazing management, as each herd requires its own grazing plan. In some cases personnel turnover has meant the loss of some organizational knowledge and retraining has been required. Additionally, in an integrated dairy operation such as these, crop production and irrigation schedules all require coordination with grazing management.
The Results As biological processes operate on a different time scale than economic conditions, the ability to stay the course despite operational changes has been important. After four years of implementation of the holistic planned grazing at the three dairies, the results have been very encouraging. Because of increased pasture productivity, on average, the grazing season is beginning earlier and ending later in the year. At the Idaho dairy, grazing in 2008 continued into November for the milking herd and dry cows grazed into December. Some annuals are grazed to allow for the summer slump in production of perennial pastures. The dairy herds are exhibiting good health. The increased distances they are traveling to graze (up to one and a half miles from the milking parlor) have resulted in increased exercise, contributing to decreased hoof and leg problems, with less hoof maintenance required. Healthy cows have meant healthy calving. Native pastures have shown an increase in desirable species and a reduction in noxious
continued from page three species, and an earlier green-up in spring, with no additional inputs, outside of those provided by the grazing herds. The Idaho dairy is able to obtain roughly 30 days of grazing from non-irrigated native pastures, further extending the grazing period, while allowing sufficient recovery of irrigated pastures. Without the benefits of holistic planned grazing, some native non-irrigated pastures adjacent to the dairy properties have exhibited significant degradation, showing both declines in species diversity and increases in plant spacing with the associated increase in bare ground and soil erosion. All of the dairies have shown an increase in Dry Matter Intake (DMI) from pastures. DMI has trended towards 40% for the milking herd, while DMI for dry cows trended towards 80%. Increases in DMI off pasture at one dairy translated into as much as a 26% decrease in feed costs during the grazing season. Annual monitoring has shown an increasing trend in soil organic matter, water penetration, and carrying capacity. The Holistic Management framework of “Plan, Implement, Monitor, Control and Re-plan” has enabled the entirety of this program to remain flexible in the face of changing conditions. As a practical example of how this has worked, the Holistic Management framework guided the Idaho dairy in their decision to modify their irrigation program for the pastures around the dairy barns, and conserve the valuable water resource, when monitoring of the irrigation plan indicated that adjustments were required.
Grassland Carbon Sequestration In a recent presentation by J. Franzluebbers of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a comparative analysis in various agricultural uses indicates that, second to forests, grasslands exhibit the highest concentration of soil organic carbon (SOC). Franzluebbers’ presentation continues with an analysis of the influence of management on the grassland’s ability to sequester soil carbon.
Horizon’s Maryland Dairy is the smallest of the three dairies HMI worked with.
September / October 2010
While his presentation concludes more information is necessary to definitely understand the effects of management on SOC in various climates, initial data indicates that perennial pastures with managed grazing contain higher concentrations of SOC than those pastures which had been harvested for hay, and higher still than land used for conventional crop farming, with perennial grasslands having the potential of sequestering between .25–1.0 Mg of Carbon per hectare (2.47 acres) per year. The Holistic Management program at the Horizon farms and the tool of holistic planned grazing provide vehicles for Horizon to actively manage pastures so as to create the ideal conditions for capturing soil organic carbon. Not only does increased SOC benefit Horizon through increased soil fertility and increased water holding capacity, the ability to increase SOC demonstrates that agricultural practices can be regenerative and can benefit the larger environment. With adoption of practices that encourage SOC sequestration, agricultural producers can help mitigate climate change, providing financial, environmental and social benefit to all. The focus of the Holistic Management program for Horizon Organic is on managing the complex interaction of the growth and vitality of the grass, the state of the soil, the number of cows grazing, and the duration of grazing. The holistic planned grazing approach follows the natural grazing behaviors of herds as they graze, fertilize the land, and move on, satisfying their nutritional needs while leaving the pastures and soil in a healthy state. Grazing is managed and timed carefully to ensure the health of the animals and the microenvironment of the soil’s surface, while maintaining milk production and operational performance. While still evolving, the Holistic Management program with the tool of holistic planned grazing has helped Horizon Organic structure their pasture and grazing management program in such a way to meet the organization’s long-term sustainability goals. Horizon Organic’s dedication to holistic land management and regenerative practices has helped make a significant impact on the environment. This article is based on a presentation presented at the Grazing Lands Coalition Initiative Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada in December 2009. Tracy Favre is Senior Director of Contract Services for HMI and can be reached at email@example.com. Kelly Shea is Vice President of Government and Industry Relations, Organic Stewardship at White Wave, the parent company of Horizon Organic.
Resilience on the Prairie Edge— The 777 Buffalo Ranch by Kirk Gadzia
he first time I visited the 777 Buffalo Ranch* south of Rapid City, South Dakota, was in the late 1980s soon after portions of the movie Dances with Wolves were filmed there. I remember how exciting it was to see the footage of the stampeding bison herd across the prairie and thinking of the effect of all that animal impact on the landscape.
But the following day, when viewing the real herd, I received a safety lecture on the unpredictable nature of these wild animals and how quickly they could go from grazing peacefully to a full charge. “Be vigilant and aware,” were the watchwords. My next memory was of finding a place in the paddock where some of the bison had broken through a gate. Mimi Hillenbrand, my guide that day, told me she would drive around the back side of the ‘escapees’ and I was to get out and ‘wave a feed sack’ to guide them toward the opening and back with the rest of the herd. Only trouble was there was not a feed sack to be found in the truck, so she handed me her sweatshirt—and it was RED! The joining of the groups went off without a hitch, but visions of bullfighting with the waving red cape still linger. A red cape is a good metaphor for trying to build resilience in the 21st century. For years bison have been a kind of ‘red flag’ for ranchers, environmentalists, and public land managers— often a source of conflict between competing visions of the land. Today, however, those battle lines are not so clear cut. That’s because our challenge now is to find ways to manage animals, wild or domestic, for ecosystem health and economic sustainability for the long run— resilience, in other words. This is the story of one ranch that is trying to do just that—on the back forty—instead of waving flags.
during the breeding season. The bellowing of the bulls is reminiscent of the roars of lions on the plains of Africa. Considering that bison were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1800s, one is reminded of how lucky we are to be able to witness such a spectacle today. Mimi Hillenbrand, daughter of Ray and Rita, has been involved in the land and bison management as well as marketing aspects of the business from an early age. In 1991 she took her first training in Holistic Management, or HRM as it was known at the time, and has continued her training, and frequently travels to grasslands worldwide in her studies of wildlife and wild places. Mimi is passionate about these animals and their place on this land. In fact, the health of the land is a driving force for her management objectives and permeates all aspects of the business. During ranch visits we spent as much time identifying plants and observing signs of the health and resilience of the land as we did discussing the bison business. For example, low production grasses are being replaced by deep rooted native species like Green Needlegrass. Native herbs such as Echinacea, prized for its medicinal qualities, also grow in profusion. Each year Mimi helps create a detailed grazing plan for the bison herd that moves
between 25 different pastures during the growing and dormant season. In 1992, in conjunction with planned grazing, ecosystem monitoring transects were established across the ranch and data are collected annually. The data analysis shows a decrease in bare ground and erosion with concurrent increases in species complexity and diversity. The land is improving—becoming more resilient to climate extremes that are “normal” for this landscape where the edge of the prairie meets the Black Hills. Raising bison for meat as a business gained significant popularity in the late 1980s. At this time, many new producers entered the business and the price for bison escalated rapidly as new ranches bidded up breeding stock prices to build their herds. By 1998, purchase price for bison reached an all time high that doubled or tripled those of live beef animals. Unfortunately, the meat marketing segment of the business did not keep pace with the breeding buildup of harvestable bison. This created an oversupply of meat, particularly hamburger and lower end cuts. By 1999, the industry entered a period of rapid price deflation for live animals and meat products. Compounding these difficulties was a period of prolonged drought across much of the nation’s bison ranches. The combination of low prices, drought, and the financial hardships they produced, caused many producers to go out of business. In 2003, Mimi took over ownership and full time management of the 777 Buffalo Ranch. Mimi spent increased amounts of time in the field observing animal behavior and planning, but her most challenging task was to make the business profitable. She began selling more of the marketable animals and aligning forage production to stocking rate. This increased CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
The 777 Mimi Hillenbrand shows the grazing planning chart and paddock map she uses to plan her grazing.
In 1972 Ray Hillenbrand and his wife Rita bought the ranch, a prairie property located between the Badlands and the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is also near the historic Buffalo Gap area where huge annual migrations of bison herds once funneled between the prairies and the Black Hills. Observing a herd of over 1,500 head of these beautiful wild animals running across the ranch is a sight to behold. Sitting on a hillside watching the bison graze while constantly moving with their baby calves and listening to their distinctive grunting calls is amazing. Even more remarkable is witnessing the bulls interact with the herd Number 133
Resilience on the Prairie Edge income and began the process of getting the ranch out of debt. She also credits the ranches’ progress to her dedicated staff, Dave Schroth, who currently manages the day to day ranch operations, and co-worker, Moritz Espy. Keeping the bison as wild as possible is a management goal, but fences make them manageable. In a situation where large scale migration is no longer possible, keeping the animals moving allows time for plant recovery resulting in healthier land. Nowhere is this more evident than at each of the many watering ponds and riparian areas on the ranch. They are healthy and full of cattails, sedges, and other tender water loving plants. This intense management does require more work on Mimi’s and Dave’s part, but Mimi feels that the long term health of the ranch land is the real basis of a sustainable bison business. Currently, the ranch grazes about 1,700 head of bison through 25 paddocks over roughly 28,000 acres (11,200 ha) and markets both meat and live animals.
Buffalo Products Currently the ranch produces both grass finished and hay/grain finished bison. The hay/grain finishing takes place on the ranch in a roomy corral setting with plenty of water and free choice of both hay and grain. Interestingly, bison will self limit the amount of grain they consume in balance with the high roughage of hay. The ranch also produces and markets a grass finished, direct off the range, product. Customers can choose which product they prefer, making their
continued from page five own decisions about the benefits and flavor of either product. The largest demand right now in Mimi’s customer base is for the hay/grain finished product. Based on customer feedback, this is primarily due to the white fat on the grain finished product versus the slightly yellow fat on the grass finished animals. In an all grass diet, the yellow color of the fat is due to carotene (vitamin A) and after the meat is cooked, is not visible. Nevertheless, some consumers are not accustomed to yellow fat and prefer the white fat meat. Presently, about 25% of the bison marketed for meat sales are grass finished two year olds. Mimi definitely sees greater awareness of the health benefits and advantages of grass finished meat and is anticipating increased production of this segment of the operation as the market expands. She has teamed up with many local and regional chefs who purchase the bison for their restaurants. Another aspect of the business Mimi is currently developing is the sale of genetically ‘pure’ bison to other bison producers and conservation organizations. For many years, bison were crossed with cattle in an effort to produce something called a ‘beefalo’ or ‘cattalo.’ Although this cross was never a commercial success, some producers are concerned that any amount of cattle genetics is a negative influence on this basically wild animal. For this ‘pure’ herd, animals are genetically tested for the presence of any domestic cattle genetics. Those that test positive, no matter how tiny the
With planned grazing the 777 Buffalo Ranch has seen improved species diversity and water cycle as well as decreased bare ground. 6
September / October 2010
percentage, do not go into this herd. Although the animals are physically indistinguishable from the main herd, they are bred only to selected ‘pure’ bulls and offspring are likewise genetically tested. In both the cattle industry and a large segment of the bison industry, much emphasis is placed on careful selection of replacement heifers (young females that replace older cows as they are removed from the herd) for desirable traits. The 777 Buffalo Ranch does the opposite; believing they are not able to select replacement animals by visual inspection at a young age, and in fact, that they may ultimately be selecting against the very traits they desired. An example in the cattle industry is that producers often select the largest heifers from the herd. Over the years this led to larger and larger cow size. These cows may produce large calves, but in most environments, their upkeep and feed intake has proven uneconomical. The 777 Buffalo Ranch does what is known as a ‘gate cut.’ For example if 125 young heifers are to be kept for replacements out of 500 heifers available, they simply select the first, second, third, or last 125 of the animals as they go through a gate. Genetic diversity is maintained by purchasing bulls from other producers, but Mimi looks for those who have similar bison production philosophies as the ranch.
Ecosystem Health and Economic Diversity The health and resilience of the 777 Buffalo Ranch is directly related to the abundance and diversity of its plant and animal species. On the ranch, plant diversity is increasing having many species of native cool and warm season grasses, flowering forbs, shrubs and trees. Deer, elk, antelope, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, badgers, prairie dogs, porcupines, ground squirrels and many other animals share the range with the bison as they have for thousands of years. The ranch is also home to a variety of birds and raptors such as golden and bald eagles, red tail hawks, ferruginous hawks, prairie falcons and many others. Rare grassland birds such as the Baird’s sparrow and Long-billed curlew are found in abundance. Another good measure of the balance now being sustained on the ranch is the increased effectiveness of the water cycle. There are virtually no signs of erosion present, except in the badland areas where soil type prevents plant growth. With nearly all the moisture that falls captured in the soil, the ranch is becoming more resistant to the effects of drought. During the last five years of below average rainfall, the ranch did not have to destock. Fortunately, 2009 was one of the best moisture years in many decades which allowed
Integrating Holistic Management and Permaculture for Land Planning by Mary Johnson
Kirk Gadzia at the Holistic Management training held at the 777 Buffalo Ranch the ranch to put up all its own hay and also go into winter with stockpiled forage in each paddock. Hand in hand with increased water cycle effectiveness and increased biological diversity is the health of the mineral cycle. As we guided the herd towards the open gate into the new paddock I asked about the presence of dung beetles. It wasn’t long until we found a whole ‘herd’ of these insects actively working on a fresh dung pat. The Native American tribes, who first inhabited this region and hunted the bison for many centuries, used every part of the animal. Many of these traditions are carried out still in the craftwork of their descendants. Mimi also owns an outlet store called Prairie Edge which showcases the art and craftwork of these northern plains tribes. It also serves as a market for some of the bison products such as bison robes. The store is located in a beautiful historic building in downtown Rapid City (see: www.prairieedge.com). Dances with Wolves was not the only movie to be filmed in this beautiful landscape and this is another aspect of the ranch’s diversified business segments. In a related effort to make the ranch more economically and ecologically resilient to fuel prices and dependence, Mimi began a program to make biodiesel fuel. The ranch now regularly collects used cooking oil from many of the restaurants in Rapid City and converts it to biodiesel that is used in ranch vehicles and equipment. Thanks to a diverse income stream, Mimi is as excited about the future of the ranch as she is about its bison herd and other wild inhabitants. The ranch survived the bison business downturn and each year the growth in meat sales and prices continue to move upward. Her focus has also been to provide training opportunities for others, as evidenced by the turnout for the Holistic Management training offered in the summer of 2009. In essence, the ranch serves as an example of how an operation can explore and answer bigger questions about food, land health, economics, and sustainability in today’s tough agricultural world. Kirk Gadzia is a Holistic Management Certified Educator living in Bernalillo, New Mexico. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. While the name of the ranch is the 777 Buffalo Ranch, the scientifically accurate name of the species to which we refer is Bison bison.
aving trained in both the tools of Holistic Management and Permaculture Design, I think using both tools can be very helpful to make a sound farm layout before you begin moving things around or spending money and time on infrastructure. In May 2010 the Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer group braved the cold blustery mountain top winds in Ashfield, to begin to look at the land from a new perspective, taking into consideration soil types, location of water and buildings. As the instructor for that program, I had the group break into two groups to work on a farm layout for the landowner, taking into consideration her mission statement. She is still working on her holisticgoal, but she gave some solid quality of life statements for the group to work from. We discussed how some aspects of permaculture design can be very helpful when thinking about what makes sense to place where on the farm. In particular we discussed the concept of Permaculture Zones of Use.
Permaculture Zones A permaculture design is divided into zones according to how frequently you visit the different areas during the day or year. Your plants, animals, greenhouses, barns, watering troughs, fencing, woodlot, fruit trees, etc. are strategically placed in locations at certain distances from your house, so you visit the critical areas as you come and go, according to how much attention they need to be well maintained. I offered to the group that when I learned about this concept, it made a great deal of sense to me, so I moved my vegetable garden from its location about 50 feet from my front door to right outside my front door. I had no idea what a difference such a short distance would make. But as human beings are fairly lazy, it really made a huge difference. I found myself stepping from my kitchen out into my new garden two or three times a day to grab a fresh bunch of herbs for my food as I cooked it. I also noticed when it needed water, and gave it some. Everytime I came or left the house, the same thing happened with the weeds. Since I had to look at the plants so often, I took much better care of them, weeded them much more often, but for less time—I was able to get the little weeds before they became a big headache, and I grew attached to the beauty and abundance that the smaller but well-tended garden brought into my daily living space. When it was bigger, and further from my view, I never cared about the garden the same way. Permaculture zones save a lot of time and energy by reducing unnecessary inefficiencies. The zones of use in permaculture design are numbered from the location you visit most frequently, Zone 0, out to the wildlands that are left relatively untouched. Zone 1 contains the most visited areas of your living area/land. Everything that needs a lot of attention should be growing or living in Zone 1. Examples for plants to grow here are seedlings that require daily watering, frequently used herbs, salad greens and home consumption vegetables, small fruit shrubs and tress that you want to notice ripe fruit on before the birds or animals enjoy them, and other helpful herbs, CONTINUED ON PAGE 17
Holistic Management and Research: Reviewing the Literature by Frank Aragona
MI is currently in the process of conducting a literature review. This process is unique because of the technological tools now available to us. We are using Joomla!, the open source content portal that is the engine for HMI’s website, to conduct the literature review in a way that is transparent, participatory, and useful to the organization and to our community as a whole. When you visit our Data and Documentation Blog, you will find a series of blog posts that form the basis for this review. Each post has been tagged with a set key of words relevant to the information included in the post. On the right hand side of the page, you will notice a tag cloud. This useful tool displays these key words graphically; larger words appear in more posts, smaller words in fewer posts. In this way, we are in the process of creating a searchable database available to all with summaries of some of the most pertinent research in the area of Holistic Management. Whether you are interested in a specific topic like stocking rates, or a particular study like the Charter Trials, or relevant research conducted in Australia, you now have this information just a few mouse clicks away.
Scientific literature relevant to Holistic Management falls into three general categories: positive, negative and neutral. There are some articles that view Holistic Management in a positive light, like the research published by Stinner et. al. in 1997. In this paper, entitled “Biodiversity as an Organizing Principle,” the authors provide evidence of a dramatic shift in the land manager’s perspective of biodiversity: 9% of participants believed biodiversity to be important before being exposed to HRM (Holistic Management); 100% believed biodiversity to be important after practicing HRM (Holistic Management). This shift in perception was accompanied by increases in profitability. 80% of research participants reported increased profits from their land with the application of Holistic Management. Clearly, the relationships between perception, practice, and profitability are important. The second category is research that views Holistic Management unfavorably. This research has focused primarily on the use of high stocking rates and animal impact as a tool to heal land. Some of these studies though cited often, have serious methodological shortcomings that call into question their final conclusions. One example is an article entitled “Effects of Livestock Grazing on Infiltration Rates, Edwards Plateau of Texas,” published in the Journal of Range Management in 1984. This study concludes that short-duration, high-intensity grazing (SDG) dramatically decreases water infiltration rates when compared with medium stocked continuous grazing. When analyzing the reported numbers in the paper, however, we quickly realize that SDG paddock stocking rates varied from 3.2 ha/AU/yr to 4.9 ha/AU/yr.; treatment paddocks were 6 ha 8
each. This then means that around one or two AU (animal units) were placed in each paddock for each grazing event! This is hardly the type of density required to achieve herd effect, nor is this the type of management intensive grazing one would find on a ranch that practices Holistic Planned Grazing. Unfortunately, for logistical reasons, it is often the case that highly controlled research is incapable of reproducing the conditions one would find on a ranch, or in wildlands. Some research, without intending to, causes us to question some of our assumptions about land response to management. The article “Livestock, soil compaction, and water infiltration rate” by Castellano and Valone is one such article. In it, the authors report soil compaction and perennial grass data from three livestock exclosures established in 1958, 1977, and 1993 in southeastern Arizona. Surprisingly, perennial grasses improved dramatically within the 1958 exclosure, but no changes were detected for the other two exclosures. This improvement was accompanied by similar changes in soil compaction: “…the soil was approximately 84% more compact outside compared to inside the 1958 site but differed by only 39% and 27% across the fences at the 1977 and 1993 sites, respectively.” This research is a cautionary tale about the potentially negative effects of the soil compaction associated with animal impact, and would suggest that sometimes, especially for soils that are particularly vulnerable to compaction, perhaps total rest isn’t always a bad thing. On the other hand, other empirical evidence, like the degraded Drake Exclosure in central Arizona, warns us of the dangerous assumption that resting land will always result in ecological improvements. In the
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complex field of ecosystem management, there are always anomalies and phenomena which we don’t fully understand. Research from these types of exclosures helps us to understand the biotic and abiotic forces at play within these complex dynamic systems. Finally, there is an entire category of research that is relatively neutral or agnostic when it comes to the debate on total rest, stocking rates and animal impact. This research is often the most relevant for improving our practice of Holistic Management. An article by Fuhlendorf et. al. published in Ecological Applications in 2006 provides useful insights into the management of avian diversity through the combined use of fire and grazing. The researchers implemented a patchwork system of rotational burns in which some areas were burned one year and left to recover the following years while other patches were burned. Through this type of management, the researchers created a diverse landscape characterized by a patch-work of bare ground and covered ground, high grasses and low grasses, areas of high animal impact/grazing and areas of low animal impact/grazing. This patch-work landscape dramatically increased the diversity of bird species within the treatments by providing different types of habitat. Research of this type greatly expands our ability to conceptualize and manage biodiversity on the landscape. Other research provides similar insights, like a paper showing the potential to use grazing planning to improve sage grouse habitat. And another paper demonstrates the relationship between grazing ungulates and symbiotic mycorrhizal soil fungi, which were associated with a 34% increase in perennial grass productivity. One paper points towards potential strategies for managing dung beetles in brittle environments. All of this and more is now available to you via the Data and Documentation Blog at our website, www.holisticmanagement.org. Updates are regularly posted via HMI’s Facebook page. There is also an RSS Feed on the blog if you’d like to receive updates on your desktop or mobile device. Please join us and leave your comments on the blog. Help us develop a spring board for synergy and collaboration as we assimilate and apply the results of research towards the common goal of healing the land and delivering results on the ground.
& Economics of Biodiversity—
The Market Value of Biological Capital by John King
hat is the economic value of biodiversity for pastoral farmers? Pastoral researchers often present gross margins in dollars and cents to show how biological farming lifts profits by simply reducing production costs (less mowing/spraying of weeds and less pasture pest control). But how can farmers work out a commercial value for the ecological relationships that build production capacity and improve profitability over and above simply cutting costs? What is the immediate market value of the biodiversity that contributes to farm production? One simple way to relate biodiversity to its immediate market value is through the price of fertilizer. I first came across this idea in an article written 15 years ago by Jody Butterfield comparing the cash value of organic matter to the profitability of a farm (See HRM Quarterly #35). Now I use this idea to help farmers appreciate the market (cash) value of the
biological capital hidden in their soils and its rates of return by using the data found in Professor David Whitehead’s book Nutrient Elements in Grassland.
The Market Value of Pastoral Biology Nitrogen is often the largest annual fertilizer investment by conventional farmers. The fertilizer with the greatest concentration of nitrogen in New Zealand is urea so its price becomes the standard by which we value nitrogen per kilogram. Most nitrogen in the soil is held by carbon, thereby providing the link to biodiversity. Using the price of nitrogen as a monetary basis, we can crudely compare different forms of biodiversity by their mineral value (Figure 1). Earthworms, actinomycetes, and bacteria have higher values because the carbon:nitrogen ratios are lower in these life forms, even compared to heavily fertilized plants. Therefore the more of these life forms, the higher biological capital so to speak. This insight helps farmers consider the importance of micro-organisms and the real market value of the biology in their soil. Nitrogen is the most significance element when commercially valuing biology. This may change as carbon gains greater worth as a unit of value. While Figure 1 highlights the market value of these biological assets, how does their biological activity measure up in financial terms? After all, an asset is wealth that generates wealth. If a biological asset generates biological capital, how can a farmer calculate the financial value of biological capital?
Calculating the Financial Worth of Earthworms The following focuses on earthworms. These are biology readily seen and easily acknowledged. A spade cube should hold a minimum of 25 worms or the equivalent of 1 million worms per acre (2.5 million worms per hectare). So, what is the market value of this biological asset and what might be the financial value of the biological capital they generate? Assume it takes 1,818 worms to equal a pound (4,000 worms to equal a kilogram), then 1 million worms/acre (2.5 million worms/ha) equate to 550 lbs/acre (625kgs/ha) of earthworms. If live earthworms are 30% protein (6.25% N), then 26 lbs of nitrogen/ 1 million worms (30kgs of nitrogen/2.5 million worms) would have a market fertilizer value of $18.12/acre ($45.30/ha). The market value of this biological asset doesn’t exactly set the earth on fire until its performance is assessed. Calculations show that 1 million worms/acre (2.5 million worms/ha) can produce 31 tons/acre (70 tonnes/ha) of castings per year. What is that worth to the farmer? Using figures in Barrett’s book Harnessing the Earthworm, if earthworm castings have more exchangeable; calcium (150%), magnesium (300%), nitrogen (500%), phosphate (700%), and CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
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Using these relationships you can argue that the initial $27/lb ($60/kg) purchase in livestock would appreciate in market value by 3,200% on an annual basis while generating a 5.5% return on the appreciating asset. In other words, by year three, the $27 ($60) investment could potentially appreciate into a $27,727 ($61,000) asset generating over $1,500 ($3,300) of worm casts. If these calculations hold true, they attest to the incredible net worth biological capital can generate.
Cash Cows potassium (1100%) than the surrounding soil, then by using the market value for these elemental nutrients we can roughly calculate the market value of worm castings. Using the above assumptions, a biological asset worth $18/acre ($45/ha) creates biological capital with a market value worth $828/acre ($2069/ha) of exchangeable nutrients. This is an impressive 4,500% return. Not many $18 ($45) investments generate a $828 ($2,000) return while improving the planet. Across a 500-acre (200-ha) property, 1 million/acre (2.5 million worms/ha) would generate the equivalent of $414,000 worth of exchangeable nutrients each year. Fertilizer budgets for most 500-acre (200ha) New Zealand sheep, beef, and even dairy properties pale in comparison. According to New Zealand research a pasture with an annual production of 33,000 lbs DM/yr (15,000 kg DM/yr) can support 91 worms per spade cube or 3.64 million worms/acre (9.1 million worms/ha). Assuming the same productivity as above, 3.64 million worms/acre will produce 112 tons of castings/acre (9.1 million worms will produce 255 tonnes of castings/ha) or the equivalent of $3,000/acre ($7,500/ha) of exchangeable nutrients in conventional fertilizer values. For most New Zealand properties, this figure would be at least a quarter of the land valuation, in some cases more than half. During their six-year life span, every pound of worms generates $9 (kilogram of worms generates nearly $20) worth of fertilizer, but what is the return on investment for the current market price? With nitrogen as the base value, a pound of earthworms would cost $0.03 (kilogram of earthworms would cost $0.07). Compare this to current compost worm prices ranging from an inflated $18/lb to $36/lb ($40/kg to $80/kg). Nevertheless, even using an average compost worm price of $27/lb ($60/kg), one pound of worms returns $1.50 (one kilogram of worms returns $3.30) or 5.5%, but this only reflects nutrient cycling. The great thing about biodiversity is that it breeds. If an adult worm lays eight egg capsules per year (containing anything up to 20 eggs) and four of those eggs per capsule survive to adulthood for the following season, under ideal conditions one worm produces 32 young in a season, the second season using the same formula there would be 1024 worms, the third season 32,800, the fourth season 1,050,000, the fifth season over 33 million... 10
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So if earthworms are worth their weight in gold, what biological value do ruminants contribute to the cycling of nutrients in pastures? Unlike earthworms, cows and sheep do not enrich the nutrients they ingest, but their digestive tracts help make nutrients they deposit more soil available than herbage standing undigested in the sward. Using the same fertilizer prices and the estimates from Whitehead’s book the market value for excreta shows that a cattle beast returns $1.29 of exchangeable nutrients daily, whereas as sheep it’s 32 cents (Table 2). Over a year a single cattle beast is depositing $470 worth of nutrients and a single sheep $117, representing anywhere between 20%–100% of the actual New Zealand market value of an adult animal. What is the value returned on a per acre or hectare basis? To completely smother a single acre (hectare) with dung and urine in a single day by a single animal takes the equivalent of 940 cattle (2,350 cattle) or 4,120 sheep (10,300 sheep), extreme stocking rates indeed. Excreta influences 4 times the area it directly smothers which demonstrates the highly exchangeable nutrients these animals produce. Using the affected area rather than the smothered area, stocking rates of 200 cattle (500 cattle) or 1,560 sheep (3,900 sheep) can effectively manure an acre (hectare) per day. These stocking rates can only be practically achieved by herding and are returning the equivalent of 117 lb N/acre/d (133kgN/ha/d) and 220 lb
N/acre/d (250kgN/ha/d) respectively. However, it’s not uncommon for farmers to transfer nutrients by having a mob graze one paddock and camp in another. This is a proven tool to lift pasture performance, but what cash value can be placed on this technique? A herd of 500 beef cows deposits close to $650/day worth of fertilizer,
whereas as mob of 2,500 sheep is spreading nearly $800/day (assuming 5 sheep equals 1 cow). Over a year that balloons out to $235,000 (500 cows) and $292,000 (2,500 sheep) worth of nutrients returned to the soil. Again, the annual fertilizer bill of most livestock properties pale in comparison.
Intensive vs Non-Intensive Production While we can calculate the financial value of the biological capital deposited by livestock and earthworms, what about whole production systems? Does the value of biological capital differ between production systems? Again using fertilizer prices as the basis of financial value and the estimates from Whitehead’s book, a quick, crude comparison between intensive dairying and beef production (Tables 3&4) can be calculated. These tables relate to United Kingdom cattle grazing and assume 8,800 lb DM/acre/yr (10,000kgDM/ha/yr) of pasture leaf and 4,400 lb DM/ha/yr (5,000kgDM/ha/yr) of root material decomposes in pasture annually. The dairy system incorporates high fertilizer use whereas the beef system incorporating grass clover swards with no fertilizer. The element values are based on 2009 New Zealand fertilizer prices. For this article, the Total $ value calculations only involve what is returned to the soil by animal and plant, whereas the Gain $ value includes all nutrient contributions to and emissions from the soil as calculated by Whitehead. Any mineral excreta return higher than intake is due to animals eating soil. Annually, sheep and cattle can consume up to their own body weight of soil. By adding up the Total$ rows it’s no surprise the dairy system returns a higher market value of nutrients (NZ$2060.57) back to the soil reflecting more inputs. Yet when adding up the Gain$ rows the overall net gain in biological capital is minimal (NZ -$0.59). In comparison, the Total$ grass and clover return is half that of dairying (NZ$ 964.97) but its biological capital (Gain$) increases annually by NZ$73.36/acre (NZ$183.40/ha), nearly a 20% return on what is invested. That equates to an appreciation in value of $36,680 across a 500-acre (200-ha) property (versus $118 decline for the dairy system on the same area).
Calculating the Economics of Biodiversity Whitehead comments that as production systems become more intensive and nitrogen fertilizer use increases, pasture species reduce, leading to
increased leaching of nutrients and a reduction in all wildlife. The loss of wildlife and the free services these organisms provide farmers has to do with the health of the soil. In comparing beef and dairy farming systems these figures point to why there are so many pasture and animal issues with intensive dairy farming. While the market value of plant and animal waste reinvested back into soil is higher with dairy, the nature of the investment is so unbalanced it doesn’t accrue or create any biological capital. In business terms they’ve increased the cash flow without growing the capital base thereby compromising the potential net worth of the business. Of course in real (non-biological) commercial terms the extra productivity cashes up the dairy farmer and brings down the mortgage faster. However, this will come at the expense of a higher overdraft to correct all the problems associated with high input farming and depleted soils. If both enterprises only covered its costs and wasn’t profitable, the beef enterprise would be ahead because the accruing biological capital would buffer the wet, dry, and cold leading to longer growing seasons. This means more grass for fewer dollars invested. However, as the tables forewarn, the disappearance of major nutrients like calcium and magnesium (which are the building blocks of soils and plants) signal that even beef properties will eventually fail unless these
deficiencies are corrected by soil or animal nutrition programs. In estimating the market value of biological capital these crude calculations reflect the real economics of biodiversity to farming systems. Certainly the contribution earthworms make by enhancing the nutrient qualities of the soil and building biological capital has positive effects on the production system. Even the value of dung and urine returned by livestock is a significant contribution in market terms to the business. As farmers begin measuring biological agriculture with greater professionalism there will be a deeper connection between biological and financial capital. John King is a Holistic Management Certified Educator living in Christchurch, New Zealand. You can contact him through www.succession.co.nz John wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Australian Holistic Management Certified Educator Jason Virtue with this article. This article was first printed in ACRES USA. One US$ equals NZ$1.45. Number 133
Land & Livestock
Cropping to Maximize Soil Cover, Energy Flow, and Diversity by Tony McQuail
hen we think of cropping and land management from a Holistic Management perspective, we are planning to design crop rotations that mimic nature. Nature covers bare soil, moves toward diversity and retains nutrients. It maximizes energy flow and community diversity, while maintaining strong water and mineral cycles. If we design rotations that keep the soil covered most of the time with growing plants we are maximizing the amount of sunlight photosynthesizing into materials we can sell, feed, or return to our soil production base through roots and residue. Actively growing plants, we provide shade and protection for the soil surface and their roots take up soluble nutrients while releasing exudates into the soil which feed fungi and bacteria that further increase the plants’ ability to draw nutrients from the soil. A crop rotation that has a variety of crops growing in different years achieves diversity through time. A rotation that includes mixed grains or grains and legumes growing together has diversity at one time. Underseeding a crop with legumes like red clover or sweet clover that come on strongly after the main crop is harvested is another way to achieve this. Growing cover crops or green manure crops between main cash crops can also increase diversity. Crops with different root types and depths also improve the diversity of the system. Cocktail cropping is an approach where a large variety of different seeds are planted at one time and a polyculture of plants grown either for feed or as a plow down. Some farmers are experimenting to design cocktails where some of the plants growing in the cocktail can be harvested as seed. The more complex a mixture, the more challenging it can be to get different plants to mature and be harvestable at the same time. If you are plowing down or using livestock to harvest the cocktail crop by grazing, this is not as significant a concern.
Keeping Soil Covered No-till drills are used to plant into crop or other residue. Often the area has been sprayed with an herbicide to kill weeds or pasture plants. Some farmers are experimenting with rolling or crimping crops at stages when they are vulnerable, breaking their stems and creating a mulch that they can no-till through that doesn’t require the use of herbicides. Others are experimenting with pasture cropping where a pasture is grazed hard to weaken the root reserves and then an annual crop is drilled into the pasture. If the crop grows quickly it will suppress the pasture regrowth keeping it in the understory until after the crop is harvested. Then the pasture plants can grow and replenish their root reserves and cover the soil surface. Another effort to keep soils covered involves developing perennial grain crops that don’t have to be planted annually. Plants have different ways of ensuring their survival. Perennial plants store energy in their roots to let them survive from year to year. Annuals focus their energy storage on seed production to carry their line into the future. People have generally looked to harvest the energy of annual plants in the seeds and have focused on breeding grain plants that put as much energy as possible into the seeds. With modern fertilizers and herbicides, we have selected for plants that put less energy into roots and height and more into the seed packet. But tillage, fertilizers, and herbicides are a huge energy subsidy supplied by the farmer and human society. Perhaps developing perennial grains that produced less grain energy in a year, because they 12
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stored energy in root reserves, would still be a better bargain than a higher yielding variety that took more input energy. Designing crop rotations that minimize the amount of time soil is left bare will help protect it. Underseeding grain crops with a forage legume like red clover or sweet clover can help protect the soil and add nitrogen through atmospheric fixation. The clovers make a protective canopy after the grain crop is removed and can be plowed down shortly before the next crop is to be planted. Fast growing cover crops or cocktails can be planted immediately after a crop is harvested to provide growth and cover for the soil. Some crops that will germinate on the soil surface can be broadcast into a crop before it is harvested. This has been done using winter rye or wheat with soybeans. If there is adequate soil moisture and good canopy shade, the seeds will germinate. Soybean leaf drop can also help provide a mulch over the seeds which can increase the soil surface moisture and germination success. When the crop is harvested, the already germinated plants can quickly fill out and provide soil cover.
Cropping Resources: PERENNIAL GRAINS: http://www.landinstitute.org/pages/Glover-et-al-2007-Sci-Am.pdf NO KILL CROPPING: http://www.pasturecropnokillcrop.com/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54 PASTURE CROPPING: http://www.pasturecropping.com/ INCREASING CROP DIVERSITY: http://www.umanitoba.caoutreach/naturalagriculture/cropdiv.html COVER CROPS AND GREEN MANURES: http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/naturalagriculture/covercrops.html COCKTAIL MIXES & INTEGRATING LIVESTOCK: http://www.holisticmanagement.org (IN PRACTICE archives) IMPROVING SOIL FERTILITY WITH GREEN MANURE LEGUME CROPS—FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/ deptdocs.nsf/all/faq7979?opendocument LEGUME GREEN MANURING: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex133 OVERVIEW OF COVER CROPS AND GREEN MANURES: http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/covercrop.html MANAGING COVER CROPS PROFITABLY (3RD EDITION): http://www.sare.org/publications/covercrops/coercrops.pdf BURLEIGH COUNTY SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT: http://www.bcscd.com DAKOTA LAKES RESEARCH FARM: http://www.dakotalakes.com ORGANIC FIELD CROP HANDBOOK, SECOND EDITION SECTION 3 – DESIGNING CROP ROTATIONS.
Maximizing Energy Capture
When All is in Balance—
Green growing plants capture solar energy. Any time our land does not have green plants growing on it we are losing potential energy resources. Figuring out ways to keep plants growing on our land by extending the growing season and minimizing the time we have bare ground can help. Also designing cropping systems that have a variety of plants growing at one time will help increase capture. Experimenting with mixed grains, grain and pea mixtures, or even mixtures of several different cultivars of the same grain crop that are different heights can thicken the canopy and increase the conversion of sunlight into plant material. Using cocktail crops can be a method of increasing solar capture during periods between harvesting one crop and planting another. By using a mixture of seeds for plants tolerant to conditions occurring between the crops, significant amounts of energy can be captured and either reinvested in the soil by working it in or harvested by grazing. Only a portion of the energy can be harvested as a significant amount will remain in the soil as roots and on the soil as residue. This is fine; it is a re-investment in the soil ecosystem which will pay dividends in water retention, soil structure, and fertility.
t was the second weekend in November 2009, opening day of deer rifle season here and like in years past I was sitting on a hilltop in early morning darkness waiting for the sun to come up. I was hunting on my pasture along with some friends. This was the same pasture where I had lost a goat to coyotes back in May. Since the first of November I had killed two coyotes in the area of the pasture where the goat herd would be wintered. November so far had turned out to be very mild, and while I suspected there were more coyotes around, the coyotes didn't seem to be moving all that much. Like much of Eastern Nebraska the deer population here is on the verge of overpopulation, if not in fact already there. So the task at hand today was to thin the herd and along the way pick up some fine eating venison. By day's end we had harvested almost ten deer off just under 400 acres (160 ha) of land. There were still plenty of deer left, but we had enough deer for a full day in the processing shed.
What we see above ground is only part of what is happening on our land. We are learning that there are complex biological communities in the soil and elaborate relationships between plants and a variety of microorganisms. Plants are able to attract specific bacteria and fungi by exuding sugars from their roots. The bacteria and fungi can offer protection or seek out specific nutrients the plant needs. Different crops also have different rooting depths and characteristics, so having a variety of crops in the rotation has a wider range of impacts below the soil surface. Over time growing a single crop will tend to impoverish the soil biological community. Diversity also plays a role in reducing pest and disease out breaks. We can increase diversity by dividing the crops in our rotation into smaller “fields” or planting them in alternating strips across our fields. How we manage field boundaries and property lines can also affect diversity. Are we providing perching sites for hawks, nesting sites for insect eating birds, habitat and nectar for natural pollinators, habitat for predatory and parasitic insects? Are we maintaining a diverse crop ecosystem which minimizes the areas for disease and pest organisms to establish and proliferate? Designing a good crop rotation is as unique as your holisticgoal, your soil type, and farm topography and local ecosystem. Figuring out and then adjusting a crop rotation involves using your holisticgoal. It helps direct the choice of crops and the design and then adjusting it over time to ensure that it leads toward the quality of life and future landscape you’ve described with increasing environmental sustainability.
With the arrival of December the mild weather which marked November soon became a distant memory. Even though much of the pasture still remained open, the numerous snow drifts really limited the ability of the goats to get to forage, and so I had to ensure there was plenty of hay available for the goats. Around Christmas Eve one heck of a blizzard blew in dumping 20 or more inches (500 mm) of snow. Around here it isn't so much an issue of how much snow, as the wind which always seems to come with the snow. Man, did we have wind, and so major snow drifting. Because drifting snow is somewhat compacted it tends to have a sort of crust on top immediately following a blizzard. Almost immediately the paw of a canine (coyote) can ride up on top of this crust whereas a hooved animal easily cuts through this crust. In effect, the snowdrift becomes a high speed avenue of travel for the canine and a quagmire to be avoided at all cost by the hooved animal. By the first of January it was easily noticeable here that the deer had
Tony McQuail is a Certified Educator and an agricultural producer from Lucknow, Ontario. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Managing in Nature by George Wagner
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A closer view of goat hut that George uses his 4-wheeler to move.
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Managing in Nature
continued from page thirteen
grouped up into "herds." I can't say what all comes into play with the deer here taking on this winter herding effect but it is different behavior than the rest of the year. I do know this winter it was obvious the deer population was denied access to much of their forage base by deep snow, and so the same amount of deer now had less area in which to exist. Obviously deer would show up in herds as they pursued available forage. Around January 20th I was checking the goat herd on the pasture and as I looked across the backs of the goats about two hundred yards away I could count over ten deer on this same piece of pasture. It had been almost a month now since the major blizzard had hit and with a few smaller snow events since then and continuously frigid temperatures, much of the available forage remained inaccessible to both deer and goats because of the deep drifts. It was apparent a period of time had elapsed without the full forage base being accessible, and as a land manager it was definitely apparent to me there was a need for destocking of ruminants on this pasture. Add to this the understanding that a ruminant creates warmth in part by ruminating, and with frigid temperatures more eating would be the order of the day in order to facilitate more warming of the ruminant's body. What remained of the accessible forage base had been utilized much faster than what may happen under a less frigid weather pattern. Drifting snow has no respect for fences. Since late December the fence holding the goat herd had been completely covered by snow drifts in a number of places. It didn't take the coyotes too long before they were moving through the same part of the pasture where the goats were since the snowdrifts now gave the coyotes a bridge over the fence. Around January 29th I noticed a deer kill within two hundred yards of where the goats were, and then another deer kill in this same area. It was obvious both of these deer were taken down by coyotes. Earlier I had counted a herd of over thirty deer on a small ridgeline in this area of the pasture. As I surveyed the area it became clear why the coyotes were
This is the back side of the huts which provide shelter for the goats. Ten adult goats will fit easily into one shelter. The shelters are approximately 4 ft. high at the center and approximately 7 ft. long and about the same wide. To the right of the shelters you can see the goats on the hay. George feeds hay on very poor soil. In this picture the shelters are actually sitting on a very narrow ridgeline which is also very poor soil. Because the shelters are effective in protecting the goat from foul weather he can actually put the shelter on high open ground. All the soiled bedding from the shelters just remains in place then and becomes a heavy injection of organic matter on very poor soil. 14
Land & Livestock
September / October 2010
George pre-positioned twelve large round bales and fenced them off with poly-wire prior to winter. The poly-wire is moved to expose three bales at a time to the goats. He has three bale feeders to put around the bales so he can feed three bales at a time. successful in taking down deer here. The small ridgeline has a rather deep draw on either side. In times when snow is absent, these draws hold deer and the deer can easily slip off the ridgeline and find safety in the steep brush covered draws which they can navigate with ease. These draws were now filled with snow and for a deer to step off into either draw would guarantee the deer would sink to its belly in snow. During less severe winters it is common to see this same ridgeline inundated with deer tracks. Now, with two separate deer kills in the immediate area, the ridgeline was absolutely covered with coyote tracks. The narrow deer trail in the snow going up the ridgeline created a chokepoint. If up to thirty deer were surprised here there was no way all of them could fit onto the trail at once and evade the coyotes. The goat herd enjoys no protection from any type of guard animal; they are on their own. So, fresh coyote tracks in the same area of the pasture as the goat herd really grabs my attention. Coyote tracks on the same ground as the goats travel and an over abundance of coyote tracks around the area of the deer kills had me thinking I had coyotes coming out of the woodwork. I had to remember with the onset of an increasingly severe winter, the coyotes were definitely moving more and covering more ground. A coyote, much like the ruminant, has an increased food requirement the colder the weather, and there is little doubt the coyotes were taking down the deer as a pack. In hunting as a pack, the coyotes were able to meet the higher energy requirement which harsh weather had placed on them. By the end of March with much of the snowpack melted, I could confirm the remains of four deer kills around the area where the goat herd was wintered on the pasture. I'm certain if a person scoured my neighbor's pasture they would find other deer kills given there is no reason my pasture should have a monopoly on interaction between the deer herd and coyote pack. Furthermore, even though the deer and coyotes had consolidated, they still would tend to impact over the entire range which encompassed the area of these same animals when they functioned in more of a solo manner absent of herds or packs. In mid-January looking across the backs of the goat herd and seeing a herd of deer in the background, I had thought to myself there is a need for destocking based on available forage. Understanding that in a functional ecosystem everything is based on time (in this case deep snow coverâ€”drifts had been present for nearly a month), it is reasonable to suggest that by the time I made an observation of the need for destocking Nature was already well on the way to implementing a destocking plan.
Predator/Prey in Action The small ridgeline I mentioned earlier is elevated above the surrounding terrain and so tends to remain snow free because of the winds. This elevated soil, like in so many places, is much poorer than surrounding areas, in part because of greater exposure to the elements and in part because of greater animal impact at times like this winter. The poor soil of this ridgeline grows a good amount of yucca (soap weed), and through the winter the deer clipped off all the green growth from the yucca as a food source leaving all the dead leaves of these plants above the soil to oxidize. A herd of goats or cattle in this situation would also clip the green leaves, and if managed correctly, would trample much if not all of the dead leaves into the soil thereby adding organic matter. Even in the dead of winter, with frozen ground, hooved animals can have a negative impact on soil if too many hooves strike the George provides shelter for his goats but no water in winter. Like cattle and deer, same area too many times. The deer herd became concentrated on the goats can meet their need for water by eating snow. His goat fencing consists an exposed ridgeline or in a sheltered draw and the coyote pack of six high tensile for his exterior fencing and four temporary polywire for followed. The coyote pack pressured the deer herd to move on and interior fencing so the impact of the deer herd, which can improve the soil when all else is in balance, is being continuously moved to a new location. There exists no stronger motivation to move on than to see one of free rides in Nature and here the least weasel penetrates those snow drifts your kind being taken down for lunch. and so on a smaller scale carnivore and herbivore interact below the snow With the snowpack gone, all that remains to identify a deer kill is a few just as carnivore and herbivore are doing above the snow. bones and maybe some scraps of hide. It is amazing how well disbursed the It would appear herbivores get the short end of the stick with the onset carcass from a deer kill becomes as not only coyotes but many other of a severe winter. Allan Nation of The Stockman Grassfarmer writes: creatures take a piece of the carcass from the kill and the few bones and Foods produced when the grass is greenest and growing the fastest does scraps of hide which remain serve as a food source for other life well into contain more minerals and good fats. Thus, these foods will be the summer months. healthiest. The almost total digestion of a deer carcass and endless trails of We cannot leave here without mention of voles. Large snow drifts with chewed up grass clippings allow all that nutrient content to be broken depths of well over four feet (1200 mm) not only isolated forage from the down and assimilated into proper functioning soil which will be able to ruminant, the drifts also isolate voles from coyotes. Under the snow drift, the hold much of the water from the snow melt. When all is in balance, Nature vole population is impacting heavily on the grasses which are no longer has provided the herbivore with a readily available highly nutritious food accessible by the ruminants as the voles cut tunnels under the snow leaving source to aid the rebuilding process. chewed up grass clippings in their wake. With snakes in hibernation, hawks But here all is not in balance. After high coyote numbers, the numbers migrated to a point somewhere south, and a barrier of snow between the now remain low in places here apparently due to mange. I become the vole and the coyote, it would seem like a free ride for the vole. There are no selective predator to the coyote pack to thin out diseased or aggressive coyotes to maintain a healthy population and not lose them to disease. The deer population here, like so much of Eastern Nebraska, continues to grow, and on my pasture I can see deer trails where the deer have cut down to bare soil and so have created an area which is prime for soil erosion. In the next county west of here you begin to enter true ranch country and I have talked with several ranchers who have or are interested in running goats on their ranches. On those massive tracts of land, running a herd of goats becomes a whole different ballgame and so having coyotes cut through a rancherâ€™s goat herd in the dead of winter on the way to a deer carcass may not give the same results I have experienced. I am drawn to manage Nature because I know that when I impact on my environment correctly it is of benefit to the whole and that in turn is part of a process which actually builds our natural resources. Plentiful natural resources are the strength and security of any nation. In the early part of March much of the snow started to melt which allowed the goats to once again have access to much of the pasture. At this time the goats were still not able to access the spring for water due to drifts and so they were still dependent on snow to meet their water requirements.
George Wagner is a rancher from Winnetoon, Nebraska and an avid dung beetle observer and recorder. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.. Number 133
Land & Livestock
F ro m t h e B o a r d C h a i r
by Ben Bartlett
t is easy to focus on the various parts of Holistic Management, like planned grazing or financial planning, and forget that those parts are built upon the general decision making tool of Holistic Management. And then to compound that oversight, we sometimes forget that holistic decision making is to “complement” regular decision making, not versus regular decision making. My point is that the “power” of making decisions using Holistic Management principles can help us make better decisions on a regular basis, and should not be “saved” for only special situations. Let’s start by remembering that things like fact finding, doing budgets, and analysis are still needed and useful when making a decision using Holistic Management. Also, I often hear people talk about not doing it “right,” and we need to remember that we can only make the best decision possible at a given moment in time. It’s always possible to look back and think we should have made a different decision, but we didn’t know then what we know now. What makes Holistic Management decision making a step above regular decision making? Here are the principles I think put the power in a decision made holistically. • We get all the stakeholders involved; you can’t make a decision for someone else and everyone with a veto needs to be involved. • Decisions are made with a “balanced” triple bottom line taken into consideration—social, economic, and environmental concerns. • Decisions are made working toward a holisticgoal and not away from something we want to avoid or fear; • We test the decisions we are making. • We monitor, no matter how sure we are, no matter how much research we have done, or how much personal pride we have invested in the decision. The only thing worse than a bad decision is not changing things as soon as possible. If you don’t monitor, you will blindly become more invested in a decision that may or may not serve you. I wanted to remind everyone about the power of holistic decision making because it’s really easy to leave out some of the vital Holistic Management decision-making principles. When that happens, you may make decisions to avoid something, or make decisions for other people and wonder why they get upset, or not test decisions and learn you missed out on a better option or, most importantly, you don’t keep your holisticgoal front and center and find out you have been making “great time—going the wrong way.” Holistic Management is such a powerful tool that just keeping the principles in mind will greatly increase the success and satisfaction of your decisions. Making good decisions is a learned skill; you never will get it perfect. But, if you practice great decision making, it will get easier, you will get better at it, and, most importantly, the rewards you receive will be ever greater.
September / October 2010
Texas Regional Office Report
ively debate was the theme at HMI’s Texas’ Drought Mitigation Workshop in Corpus Christi, June 23-24. Participants ranged from beginning ranchers to experienced veterans and industry professionals. The class was taught by Walt Davis, long time practitioner and popular consultant. He explained that grassland ecosystems are affected when land is pressured by erratic rainfall, occasional fire, and herding animals. Because drought is typically defined as a period with below average rainfall, areas that experience erratic rainfall are especially prone to drought conditions. Increasing stock density and pasture recovery time can help create healthy grassland that is robust and full of life. Many holistic managers find that they are able to sustain livestock on their land for days or even months longer than many other ranchers in their area because their land was in better condition before the drought began and because the grazing plan leaves a “drought reserve” in each paddock grazed. It is vital to remember the difference between supplemental and substitution feeding. Walt says that when the land can no longer sustain your animals, it’s time to “pull the trigger” and get them off of it. Early de-stocking of part of the herd means the land can support the smaller herd longer. Remember: it’s possible to save the herd and lose the ranch. Kirk Gadzia taught a Holistic Management Short Course in the Texas Panhandle to a class of 30 in Amarillo, Texas on June 30-July 1, smoothly integrating classroom lessons with Lands-on Learning experience at Doak Elledge’s beautifully managed operation near Pampa. There were 7 NRCS employees in the class as part of a new initiative to get more Holistic Management training for NRCS personnel. This interest by long time Holistic Management advocate Mark Moseley to train NRCS personnel has resulted in an agreement for HMI to produce a class just for NRCS decision-makers, to be held in Junction, Texas on September 20-24. Kirk Gadzia will teach one day each on Principles for Success, Financial Planning, Biological Monitoring, Grazing Planning, and Land Planning. We had one more Drought Mitigation class scheduled for August 12-13 in Bastrop, Texas, followed on August 14 by a field day at Spring Branch Ranch, a wildlife paradise and recipient of the Lone Star Land Stewards Award. We have invited Owen Hablutzel to come out from California to teach a unique class combining Holistic Land Planning with Permaculture Design and Keylining as part of an Upcoming Land Planning Course in West Texas on September 27-29. Owen is completing his Certified Educator training and has been mentored by Kirk Gadzia. Part of the workshop will be held on the Dixon Water Foundation’s Mimm’s Ranch in Marfa. Christopher Gill is bringing his Yeoman’s plow to demonstrate some of its uses. Bonnie Warnock will be there from Sul Ross University to show the grazing research the university is doing on the ranch. Walt Davis and Robby Tuggle will explain how they created the land plan on the Mimm’s ranch. Come join us!
Integrating Holistic Management plants, and flowers that bring joy and beauty into your daily life. Zone 2 is still near the house, and is a small enough zone that it can be maintained fully with irrigation and mulch. It may contain larger groves of fruit shrubs and trees and other things that you may need to visit one or two times per day, like your poultry or young livestock. Vegetables that take a long time to mature and are only picked once or twice also are grown in Zone 2, such as winter squash, potatoes and sweet corn, or garlic and onions as well as commercial crops. Zone 3 is still a managed growing zone, but it would not be mulched and would be visited less regularly. It’s an area for your sugar bush, your large fruit or nut trees, and firewood. On farms it might include your main crop areas if they only needed tending at the beginning and end of the season, and the larger pastures if you weren’t moving animals on a daily or hourly basis. Zone 4 is only semi-managed. This is an area for gathering wild foods and for growing timber. Zone 5 is your unmanaged land. It is wild and a source of inspiration, retreat and wonder.
Scale of Permanence When you are thinking about your property and trying to decide where you will put the
continued from page seven the landscape that captures runoff every time it important things you need to build or manage, it is also very important and useful to think about the scale of permanence. Basically, start identifying the critical factors that you can’t change—like the path of the sun. Because of shadows from large trees or existing barns, there may only be one or two ideal spots to locate the greenhouse you simply must have. So you wouldn’t want to inadvertently put something there that wouldn’t benefit from that precious sun, like a waste storage shed or parking lot. Wind is another permanent force, so knowing which direction it comes from during which time of year can help you reduce energy costs. Using landform to help harness gravity as much as possible for moving water around on your property is another excellent factor to consider early on in the planning process. If you invest a small amount in creating a small dam high up in
rains, you can much more easily and efficiently gravity feed irrigation lines and livestock water systems than if you try to pump water uphill from a stream at the bottom of your property. Similarly, if you design garden beds in Zone 1, why not capture water from your roofs to water the beds (if you are building from scratch, you’d need then to decide to install a non-toxic roofing material in order to be able to capture and use that gravity fed and abundant resource). By combining the permaculture concepts of zones and the scale of permanence with the holistic land planning process of listing management considerations, determining multiple plans for those different management issues, and using the holistic financial planning process to determine which infrastructure development will give the best marginal reaction, you have two very powerful tools at your disposal to create your future landscape description.
Mary Johnson is a Permaculture Design & Holistic Management consultant and trainer working with Terra Genesis International. She works with farmers and business owners in the U.S. & internationally using concepts from both Permaculture and Holistic Management to help families, businesses, and organizations. You can read more about Holistic Management and International Permaculture on Mary’s blog at http://wrcinashfield. wordpress.com. More on these design concepts can be learned by reading PERMACULTURE: A Designers’Manual by Bill Mollison and http://www.tagari.com/ or Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren
any of you may have been following people can better learn how to increase their by Ann Adams Kathy’s experiments with getting cows success at getting their animals to eat weeds and to eat weeds through her articles in reduce the steepness of the learning curve. the Stockman Grassfarmer. Her book, Kathy does mention that she started out with Cows Eat Weeds: How To Turn Cows Eat Weeds, published in 2010, is a great goats but quickly realized that to make a Your Cows Into Weed Managers book to use as a resource if you are a producer significant impact on the landscape would By Kathy Voth • pp.143 or someone trying to influence local policy require a lot of people training their animals Ordering: www.livestockforlandscapes.org about noxious weed control. This is an and there were a lot more ranchers and farmers informative and user-friendly book. It has the running cows than other livestock in the areas science to back up Kathy’s claims whether you are talking to a producer where there are major weed problems. Kathy put two and two together and decided that it was easier to train cows to eat weeds than get ranchers to worried about poisoning his cows or to a county manager who doesn’t switch to raising goats. believe that livestock will really make a difference on the invasion of Diffuse Knapweed. It also has clear instructions on how to train a cow in She notes that there is this misconception that cows don’t want to browse or eat weeds and prefer grass. But after a little training, the cows 10 hours over 10 days to eat a variety of weeds. will actually choose browse and weeds over grasses even when there is The book is well organized in that it starts with a concise discussion of more grass available. Their diet becomes more evenly distributed so their why people might want to have livestock eat weeds and the benefits for both livestock and the land from such practices. She even has a frequently intake is split almost evenly between browse, forbs, and grasses to balance their energy and protein needs. asked questions section that will prepare you for those disbelievers with The latter part of her book is devoted to setting up some simple whom you may need to engage in more conversation around this topic. Kathy credits a number of folks who have done the pioneering research monitoring protocols to help people see the progress they are making in creating a healthier landscape, and she includes a variety of worksheets you on this topic, including Fred Provenza, and spends a chapter explaining why animals choose food, how they share culture and knowledge can reproduce to help you set up your training program and track progress. Cows Eat Weeds will give you all the information you need to get (including knowledge about food) within a herd and to their offspring. One of the parts I like best about Kathy’s book is the “Lessons from the started in successfully training your cows (and other livestock) to broaden their palates so you can more effectively use them to move your landscape Fields,” where she tells the stories of what she learned during a particular toward your future landscape description. project or contract. She’s not shy about sharing the mistakes she made so
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BEYOND the ART of PLANNED GRAZING
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I am looking for opportunities to share my varied facilitation experience in the USA while also earning US$ to help finance my participation in planning meetings of the Educational Advisory Council of HMI. For more details, please contact email@example.com.
Nebraska Holistic Management Gathering September 14-15, 2010 Black Horse Inn & Drovers Steakhouse Creighton, Nebraska The Nebraska Holistic Management Gathering will feature several Holistic practitioners, Ann Adams, Neil Dennis, Chad Peterson, Rodger Savory, Tilak Dhiman, Terry Gompert, and the newly graduated Holistic Management速 Certified Educators. What will you learn? ! Grassfed Research ! Power of Stock Density (mob grazing) ! Application of Holistic Management ! Dung Beetles
Ann Adams, New Mexico - Ann is the Director of Educational Products & Outreach at Holistic Management International. She has created a workbook that helps individuals and families easily understand Holistic Management and put it into practice.
Neil Dennis, Canada - He is the detailed Mob grazier of the world. He custom feeds large herds of stockers.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 5:00 p.m. Registration 6:00 p.m. Buffet 7:00 p.m. Holistic Management Educator & Trainee Panel 8:00 p.m. Greeting Circle Registration Costs: After Sept 1 Before Sept 1 $100 $150 *50% discount for each extra member of a family or farm unit.
Speakers: Tilak Dhiman, Utah Tilak is the top researcher on grassfed fats.
Terry Gompert, Nebraska - Terry is a
Rodger Savory, Canada - Roger is the son of
UNL Extension Educator with a focus on grazing. He is a Certified Educator and Practitioner on his small ranch.
7:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m.
Chad Peterson, Nebraska - Chad is a very experienced Mob grazier. He is known for his outof-the-box thinking. HM founder, Allan Savory. He managed the grazing land in Zimbabwe. He consults worldwide and is very opinionated.
George Wagner, Nebraska - George has become an independent beetler. He knows and understands Holistic Management.
September 15, 2010 Registration with Coffee & Rolls Mob Grazing Jeffrey Island/Weeds to Grass -Peterson Mob Grazing in the North -Dennis Beginnings of Ultra-High Stock Density Grazing -Savory Power of Stock Density -Gompert
12:00 noon 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.
Lunch Living at Home with Holistic Management -Adams Latest Research on Grassfed Beef -Dhiman Dung Beetles -Wagner and others Buffet Speaker Panel Closing Circle
There are a few rooms blocked at the Black Horse Inn in Creighton, Nebraska. Call 402-358-3587 and mention the Holistic Management Gathering. For more information contact: UNL Extension in Knox County at P.O. Box 45, Center, NE 68724; email - firstname.lastname@example.org; phone - 402-288-5611; or fax - 402-288-5612. Directions and details will be sent after registration is received. Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the United States Department of Agriculture.
September / October 2010
T H E
M A R K E T P L A C E
HANDS-ON AGRONOMY BASIC SOIL FERTILITY GUIDELINES Now Available on DVD
BUY THE DVD TODAY! Runs 80 minutes and covers the following topics:
• Feeding and Balancing the Soil • The Albrecht System • Soil Testing • Considering Soil Test Results • Sulfur • Calcium, pH, and Liming • Potassium and Sodium • Nitrogen • Manures, Green Manures
(postpaid to US addresses)
For consulting or educational services contact:
Kinsey Agricultural Services, Inc. $30 (plus shipping) (PAL orders add $5)
297 County Highway 357, Charleston, Missouri 63834 Phone: 573/683-3880; Fax: 573/683-6227, email@example.com WE ACCEPT CREDIT CARD ORDERS (VISA, MC)
Mega Meg a Tape Tape 10 stainless steel strands offers exceptional strength woven method prevents unraveling
excellent conductivity white or orange fits on a standard reel Proudly serving Holistic Management Practitioners since 1978!
(800)527-0990 San Angelo, Texas twinmountainfence.com En Mexico: Lada sin costo 01-800-640-3156
Nationwide Distribution 0910
T H E
M A R K E T P L A C E
Kirk L. Gadzia, Certified Educator PO Box 1100 Bernalillo, NM 87004 Pasture Scene 505-263-8677 firstname.lastname@example.org Investigation www.rmsgadzia.com
The Business of Ranching
• On-Site, Custom Courses
How can RMS, LLC help you? By World Famous Dr. Grandin Originator of Curved Ranch Corrals The wide curved Lane makes filling the crowding tub easy.
• Holistic Business Planning • Ranchers Business Forum • Creating Change thru Grazing Planning and Land Monitoring
Roland R.H. Kroos
Resource Management Services, LLC
Includes detailed drawings for loading ramp, V chute, round crowd pen, dip vat, gates and hinges. Plus cell center layouts and layouts compatible with electronic sorting systems. Articles on cattle behavior. 27 corral layouts. $55. Low Stress Cattle Handling Video $59. Send checks/money order to:
(406) 522.3862 • Cell: 581.3038 Email: email@example.com
GRANDIN LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS 2918 Silver Plume Dr., Unit C-3 Fort Collins, CO 80526
4926 Itana Circle • Bozeman, MT 59715
Sept. 30, oct. 1 & 2, 2010 Northeast Community College ag Complex • Norfolk, Ne
On-Site Consulting: All aspects of holistic management, including financial, ecological and human resources. Training Events: Regularly scheduled and customized training sessions provided in a variety of locations. Ongoing Support: Follow-up training sessions and access to continued learning opportunities and developments. Land Health Monitoring: Biological monitoring of rangeland and riparian ecosystem health. Property Assessment: Land health and productivity assessment with recommended solutions.
Grazing Planning & CRP Seminar
www.grassfedexchange.com “FiNiShiNG GRaSSFeD BeeF iN a PeRFeCT FaShioN”
NeTwoRkiNG eVeNT eVeNiNG MeeTiNG Sept. 30, 2010
Seminar & Grassfed Banquet october 1 & 2, 2010 You will learn what affects finishability and all the health benefits of grassfed beef. • Featuring Dr. Anibal Pordomingo, Argentina • Also, Doug Gunnink, Minnesota • Producer Panels • Famous Minnesota Grassfed Chef, Scott Pampuch, will prepare his showcase grassfed meal.
PRoDUCeR ToURS Sept. 30, 2010
DiSPLayS and VeNDoRS
october 1 & 2, 2010 See the best genetics in the gra ssfed world! Talk to vendor s tha t will help you succeed in the gra ssfed world!
September / October 2010
Seminar & Producer Tours Registration: Contact, Terry Gompert, 402/288-5611, firstname.lastname@example.org Display Pens and Grassfed Genetics Display Pens: Contact, Joey Jones, 402/322-1608, email@example.com
Note, The cost for the second member of the family/farm attending the seminar and banquet will be 50% of the cost! ■ Seminar & Banquet Before September 10, $150 After September 10, $200 ■ Livestock Display Pen, Contact Joey ■ Vendor Display, Contact Joey
See Holistic Management in Action, September 21-23 Kelly Boney, Certified Educator 4 8 6 5 Q U AY R O A D L SAN JON, NM 88434 575/760-7636 K B O N E Y @ P L AT E A U T E L . N E T
T H E
M A R K E T P L A C E
See the Big Picture ~ Respond to Change ~ Be Sustainable
Get Started Today – Join Our
Holistic Management Distance Learning & Mentoring Program Realize Immediate Benefits Save money on education — and get more for your money with highly personalized training. All you need is a telephone, a computer is NOT needed. Learn at your own pace; apply what you learn to your situation and get results now!
Don’t change your life to learn. Let your education change your life! Visit: www.wholenewconcepts.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Call Cindy at 970/882-4222 for a free consultation! Cindy Dvergsten, is a Holistic Management® Certified Educator, offering you over 15 years experience in training, mentoring, and facilitation; 30 years in natural resource management; and a lifetime of experience in diversified farming.
Offered By Whole New Concepts, LLC P.O. Box 218 Lewis CO 81327
Western Canadian Holistic LLOYDMINSTER, SASKATCHEWAN, Management CANADA Conference
Save the Date!
February 15-16, 2011
SPEAKERS and PRESENTERS INCLUDE:
PLUS . . .
Kier Barker Dr. Dwayne Beck Dr. Elaine Dembe Dr. Roger Epp Jeff Goebel
MANY HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT PRACTITIONERS AND EDUCATORS
FINALLY – T-SHIRTS for GRAZIERS! Show ‘em you’re a MiG or Mob grazier with a keen sense o’humor in out Grazing T-shirts! Wear one and spark a conversation about your ranch or farm! Wear ‘em in your Farmer’s Market booth and SELL MORE GRASS-FED! Great for the Fair, stock shows and grazing school! MIG or MOB ‘toon on quality 100% cotton tee, M-L-XL $16; 2X-4X $20, free shipping! 4-H-FFAYouth groups: ask about our fundraiser program! (Sure beats selling candy . . . AGAIN!) From the slightly warped minds at:
816/724-0653 • cowboysams.blogspot.com
healthy land. sustainable future.
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please send address corrections before moving so that we do not incur unnecessary postal fees
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Books & Multimedia
_ Aide Memoire for Grazing Planning August 2007, 63 pages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17
Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision-Making,
_ Second Edition, by Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $39 _ Hardcover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $55 _ 15-set CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $125 _ One month rental of CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35 _ Spanish Version (soft). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Holistic Management Handbook, by Butterfield, Bingham, Savory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29 _ At Home With Holistic Management, by Ann Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20 _ Holistic Management: A New Environmental Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10 _ Improving Whole Farm Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13 _ Video: Creating a Sustainable Civilization—
_ Early Warning Biological Monitoring— Croplands April 2000, 26 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15
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_ Land Planning—For The Rancher or Farmer Running Livestock August 2007, 31 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15
Planning Forms (All forms are padded – 25 sheets per pad) _ Annual Income & Expense Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _ Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 7 _ Livestock Production Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _ Grazing Plan & Control Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17
An Introduction to Holistic Decision-Making, based on a lecture given by Allan Savory. (DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 Stockmanship, by Steve Cote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35
_ _ The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, by Shannon Hayes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ The Oglin, by Dick Richardson & Rio de la Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Gardeners of Eden, by Dan Dagget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Video: Healing the Land Through Multi-Species Grazing (DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 _ PBS Video—The First Millimeter: Healing the Earth (DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 TO ORDER
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Published on Dec 14, 2011
INSIDE THIS ISSUE LAND and LIVESTOCK FEATURE STORIES With planned grazing the 777 Buffalo Ranch has been able to allow for adequate recovery...