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healthy land. sustainable future.

September / October 2007 January / February 2006

Number 115 Number 105


Moving the World Towards Sustainability


by Allan Savory and Christopher Peck Editor’s Note: In this issue, we share with our readers some of Holistic Management International’s current thinking and outreach to our global audience. As the world begins to feel more deeply the effects of our natural resource management, global citizens are looking for solutions to the complex problems of diminished biodiversity, rapidly increasing worldwide desertification, and global climate change. HMI is working hard to help people understand these three problems are the three legs of a single stool—the malfunctioning of the earth’s ecosystem. The stories in this issue explain more fully this concept as well as demonstrate how Holistic Management practitioners are using Holistic Management to address these issues.


here’s no denying it, the global environment is in crisis. Some folks have been aware of it for years, some are just realizing it, but awareness of global environmental challenges is finally going mainstream, and responsible people everywhere are struggling for solutions. The magnitude of the problems is overwhelming, and political institutions are doing little. This won’t work, nor will relying on expensive technological quick-fixes applied piecemeal without consideration of broader ramifications. A healthy, profitable and sustainable world is possible, but requires immediate attention; we have all the money in the world to address this problem, we do not have unlimited time. We propose that the further, extensive adoption of Holistic Management in the years ahead can address critical parts of the problem not easily solved by technology to build a sustainable world profitably and quickly. Global warming is getting all the press these days, but there are other equally pressing global environmental problems that if not simultaneously addressed will make it impossible to deal with global warming. We’ll discuss the problem areas and then demonstrate how Holistic Management can address these problems.

The Challenge of Legacy Carbon There is considerable focus on how improved technology can solve those aspects of global warming associated with carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources. Technology can generate energy from wind generators, photovoltaic panels, ethanol and biofuels as well as save energy while lighting, warming and cooling our homes and workplaces. Mitigating the ongoing emissions of carbon from fossil fuels necessitates technological solutions as well as behavioral changes (turn off the lights!). While technology can solve the problem of ending carbon emissions from fossil fuels, relying on technology to save us is an expensive and insecure solution for the many decades of carbon that have built up in the atmosphere. This “legacy carbon” is where our biggest challenge lies. The atmosphere today contains approximately 750 gigatons of carbon (GtC). In pre-industrial times it contained only about 570 GtC, representing an excess of 180 GtC. That’s what we need to work on; no small feat! The currently proposed high-tech solutions are astronomical in cost, and appear doomed to failure. One such proposal, injecting CO2 into saline aquifers deep underground, is estimated to cost many billions of dollars and is certain to continued on page 2

For 24 years Holistic Management International has been working with stewards of large landscapes to improve land health. There is now over 30 million acres under Holistic Management throughout the world. Holistic land stewards, like Ivan & Martha Aguirre of Sonora, Mexico, are improving the ecosystem functions on the land under their management, thus addressing the issues of drought, flooding, erosion, noxious weeds, wildlife habitat destruction, global climate change, and much more.

FEATURE STORIES Hope for Hard Wheat— Holistic Research in Ohio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 ANN ADAMS

HMI’s International Gathering 2007 Five Reasons Why You Should Go . . . . . . . . . .5 BEN BARTLETT

The Earth’s Breathing System at Risk— HMI on Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

LAND & LIVESTOCK Stock Density & Patchy Landscapes— Land Planning for Diet Selection . . . . . . . . . . . .8 JIM HOWELL

9 Things to Stop Doing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 WAYNE BURLESON

Creating a Sustainable Ranching Culture— Rancho de la Inmaculada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 ANN ADAMS

Resiliency Down Under— Planning through Drought in New South Wales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 JIM HOWELL

NEWS & NETWORK A Roving Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Certified Educators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 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. FOUNDERS Allan Savory

Jody Butterfield

STAFF Shannon Horst, Executive Director Peter Holter, Chief Operating Officer Kelly Bee, Director of Finance & Accounting Jutta von Gontard, Director of Development Constance Neely, International Training Programs Director Craig Leggett, Director of Learning Sites Ann Adams, Managing Editor, IN PRACTICE and Director of Educational Products and Outreach Maryann West, Executive Assistant Donna Torrez, Customer Service Manager Marisa Mancini, Development Assistant

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ron Chapman, Chair Ben Bartlett, Vice-Chair Gail Hammack, Secretary Sue Probart, Treasurer Ivan Aguirre Jody Butterfield Daniela Howell Brian Marshall Andrea Malmberg Jim McMullan Ian Mitchell Innes Jim Parker Christopher Peck Soren Peters Jim Shelton Roby Wallace Dennis Wobeser

ADVISORY COUNCIL Robert Anderson, Corrales, NM Michael Bowman,Wray, CO Sam Brown, Austin, TX Sallie Calhoun, Paicines, CA Lee Dueringer, Scottsdale, AZ Gretel Ehrlich, Gaviota, CA Cynthia Harris, Albuquerque, NM Edward Jackson, San Carlos, CA Clint Josey, Dallas, TX Doug McDaniel, Lostine, OR Guillermo Osuna, Coahuila, Mexico York Schueller, Ventura, CA Africa Centre for Holistic Management Private Bag 5950, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Tel: (263) (11) 404 979; email: Huggins Matanga, Director 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:; website: Copyright © 2007.



Moving the World Towards Sustainability continued from page one experience catastrophic failure in the event of an earthquake or simply from leakage at various old well points. Other proposals include planting trees or genetically modifying various organisms to improve their ability to sequester carbon. That won’t be cheap, risks a host of unintended consequences and would not sequester the carbon for centuries as is required. Even among the technologically inclined, terrestrial sequestration is widely viewed as one of the most cost effective means of pulling carbon from the atmosphere. And storing it safely in the soil is exactly where it should be. But is it possible to do this on the scale necessary, and at what cost?

Organic Agriculture is Not Enough

“Organic agriculture is not enough” is a provocative statement. Many people pin their hopes on the continued growth of organic agriculture here and abroad. The stunning 20% annual growth rate over the last ten years is encouraging, and the reduction in toxic material use and the increase in organic matter retention in cropland soils is impressive, but much more is needed. The book Collapse by Jared Diamond clearly makes the case that many previous civilizations have overextended their reach, degraded their ecosystem and died out, and each one of them had what we would consider organic agriculture (no pesticides, no artificial fertilizers, etc). We need to go beyond organic, and Biomass Gets Burned we need to think beyond the borders of the farm. Another area that requires attention in the If a disaster destroyed significant watersheds, and coming years, immediately really, is the burning of insufficient fresh water was available for human use biomass, the burning off of grasslands and savannas in drinking, irrigation, and industry, we would be in Africa and America, the clearing of agricultural clamoring for a solution. But even with organic agriculture, which was all that existed prior to our discovery and Even among the technologically inclined, terrestrial exploitation of fossil sequestration is widely viewed as one of the most cost fuels, we are losing and the loss effective means of pulling carbon from the atmosphere. watersheds, of the watershed has And storing it safely in the soil is exactly where it should be. been convincingly related to the demise of several human civilizations over wastes in crop lands and the slash-and-burn clearing the past 5,000 years (Ponting, 1991). of tropical forests. Burning creates a huge release of It is estimated today that our crop and range carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, nitric lands lose 4 tons of soil every year for every person oxide and other global warming gases into the alive! That’s 21 gigatons of soil lost to the sea, lost to atmosphere, and also releases other gases such as productive use on land and releasing vast amounts methyl chlorine and methyl bromine, which pose a of carbon (New Scientist, December 2006). If global serious threat to the ozone layer. It is true that some society is going to meet the needs of an estimated 9 of the carbon emitted from annual burning of billion people, most living in cities, by 2050, an grasslands is taken up in the following season as the agriculture that stores carbon, eliminates soil losses, plants re-grow; however the total amount of carbon and is close to the people is urgently needed. stored is less over time as the mass of vegetation and diversity of species decreases each year. Research has Single Problem Decision Making also shown that the release of excess nitric oxide and As global warming garners the majority of the nitrous oxide, both potent greenhouse gases, world’s attention at the moment, well-meaning continues to be emitted even months after the fire, people propose solutions, touting the possible at levels greater than during the burning. savings in carbon emissions. Nuclear power is often The amount of carbon associated with biomass cited as an example of an energy source that does burning is staggering. Based on research by Andreae not emit carbon. While this is true, we must look at (1991 & 1995) the amount of carbon released just the whole picture. It takes an enormous amount of by burning savanna grasslands is estimated at 1.6 energy to construct and maintain a safe nuclear Giga tons of carbon per year (GtC/yr). If we include reactor, and that energy currently comes from fossil the amount from burning agricultural residues the fuel, emitting huge amounts of carbon. There is total rises to 2.5 GtC/yr. Compare this with the 5.5 also a 250,000-year babysitting period for the GtC/yr from fossil fuel burning, and you can see the radioactive wastes and the insurance and financing enormity of the impact of burning vegetation. problems related to disaster liability. Only after full

September / October 2007

consideration of many facets can we determine the soundness of any suggested quick fix. If we look at one isolated factor, and try to solve for that isolated factor, the usefulness of our decisions is questionable. The quality of the solution will be limited, and, once in the complex real world, will bear the weight of catastrophic unintended consequences that all too often lead to fixes of the fixes. A similar critique can be made about current proposals for the conversion of corn to biofuels. If they are to actually contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions, then all phases of their production will need to be included in the calculations. Additionally, as mentioned in the previous section, an industrial agriculture approach to biofuel production will need to be similarly “beyond organic.”

Holism to the Rescue Holistic Management uses a decision making framework and set of tools that presents a “unified theory” for solving these problems. Developed over the last 30 years in response to real world demands, by farmers, ranchers, businesspeople and directors of non-profits, Holistic Management has proven its applicability and strength. The Holistic Management® framework has many layers and applications, for the sake of brevity in this conversation we will mention only two: one tool and one perspective. Holistic grazing planning is a powerful tool of Holistic Management. Based on three key insights it is classic systems thinking: what you thought was the problem is actually your most powerful solution. Conventional range management (and environmental theory) teaches that too many animals is at the root of rangeland decline. If we look at historic natural systems like the savannas of Africa or the Great Plains in the U.S. however, we see that massive numbers of animals co-evolved with highly productive rangelands. As it turns out large numbers of grazing animals are essential to the health of the grasslands, but they must be in large herds constantly moving as they once were when accompanied by pack-hunting predators.

Holistic planned grazing mimics this natural dynamic with domesticated animals, bunching them into one herd, and timing their movements to eliminate overgrazing of plants, while providing the benefit of dung and urine to the soil. Ranchers using Holistic Management use high animal density applied in short pulses, and careful timing

Increasing organic matter on rangeland soils by 1 percent is doable, and accomplished on a modest ranch of 5,000 hectares, can capture 440,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. of grazing and recovery matched to the features of the vegetation. Practice and experience around the globe has demonstrated that mimicking nature in this way works: rangelands regenerate, the diversity of plant species and their numbers increase, and there is less soil erosion, fewer droughts. A highly beneficial consequence of managing animals in this way is the increase of soil micro-fauna, particularly dung beetles (see below). Imagine the benefits to global carbon storage with billions of dung beetles tunneling partially digested grass three feet down into the soil! The use of this tool can dramatically impact the first three challenges we mentioned above, legacy carbon in the atmosphere, the burning of grasslands, and the need to go beyond organic agriculture. Taking a more comprehensive, holistic view we can apply holistic planned grazing to ever larger tracts of land, feed animals vegetation instead of burning it, restore watersheds to former states of water permeability, and store carbon in the soil. The appropriate use of holistic planned grazing leads to increased organic matter in the soil. More plants remain healthy with the lack of overgrazing,

Dung Beetles to the Rescue Dung beetles were worshipped by ancient Egyptians. When you learn of their power to sequester carbon and reduce flooding and drought, you’ll see why! Dung beetles use the manure of large animals to create underground nests for laying eggs into. They can bury a manure patty in less than 24 hours, dramatically improving soil fertility, water infiltration and range health. Modern research on dung beetles and their preference for holistic planned grazing shows holism in action. For example, to summarize research done on a ranch in Oklahoma that uses holistic planned grazing, the dung beetles buried approximately 1 ton of wet manure per acre per day. This increased water infiltration an average of 129% on studied plots. Each extra inch of water that is absorbed into the soil adds almost 30,000 gallons of water per acre to the soil, reducing both flooding and drought. (Richardson 2000).

but more importantly, more soil is covered and better aerated, and more new plants establish because of the brief but intense cultivation provided by livestock hooves. Gardeners have used the same technique for millennia – mulch the soil (with litter), add manure and you increase organic matter. We’re greatly simplifying for the sake of space, but increasing organic matter on rangeland soils by 1 percent is doable, and accomplished on a modest ranch of 5,000 hectares, can capture 440,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. (Jones, 2006) With 2,000 of these ranches or 10 million hectares managed you could remove 880 million tons of carbon. With total legacy carbon at 180 gigatons, that 10 million hectares and its stored carbon would represent about .5 percent of the legacy load. Luckily there are 4.5 billion hectares of rangeland, and if we confine ourselves to the 75 percent or so that is considered degraded, a modest .5 percent increase in soil carbon would store approximately 150 GtC. That’s pretty close to our target number, and the time frame to complete this modest increase in soil organic matter is certainly within 15 years. The amazing thing is this would be done by increasing the number of grazing animals, dramatically decreasing the amount of grassland burning, and would increase the profitability of ranchers and pastoralists around the world. The Holistic Management perspective is simultaneously the easiest and the most difficult change. Seeing the world whole is an insight that could happen in an afternoon, though usually it takes years or a lifetime to operate and make decisions from this perspective. The Holistic Management® decision making process doesn’t make you wait for enlightenment, it’s a sturdy framework that ensures that all decisions you make are comprehensive, big picture, and inclusive. Using our example, making the decision about the viability of nuclear power depends on many factors, being able to include the impact on human health, the complete carbon budget, property values (to name a few), is a useful perspective. As a species we face many challenges. Our ability to meet and overcome these challenges is strengthened by the use of Holistic Management. Please join us in our work to create a healthier and more prosperous world. We look forward to hearing from you. Article originally published by as part of the special 15th Anniversary expanded online edition (Summer 2007). For more information go to Christopher Peck is a principal with Natural Investment Services, LLC ( ), a Holistic Management® Certified Educator and an HMI board member. Number 115



Hope for Hard Wheat— Holistic Research in Ohio by Ann Adams


estled in the rolling hills outside of Wooster, Ohio is Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). This research facility includes the Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program, established in 1998 in response to requests by organic producers and supporters to provide science-based information to Ohio’s existing organic farmers and to newcomers to organic production and marketing. Heading that program is Dr. Deborah Stinner, an ecologist and trained Holistic Management educator. She is one of the co-authors of the peerreviewed paper “Biodiversity as an organizing principle in agroecosystem management: Case studies of holistic resource management practitioners in the USA,” in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, and she has worked diligently to use Holistic Management in the research mode at Ohio State University (OSU). From her perspective, Holistic Management has changed the conversations and thinking of many researchers, faculty, and farmers in Ohio and how OSU is engaged in research.

Systems Thinking The germination of that evolution began with a series of brown bag lunches at the main OSU campus in Columbus, Ohio. “Faculty and students who were interested in systems thinking began to voluntarily gather for these lunches to discuss how we could integrate systems thinking into our work,” says Deb. Holistic Management was what Deb brought to the table along with her late husband, Ben Stinner. They had been influenced by their work with the Amish and had already seen the power of consciously integrating quality of life values with the other aspects of management and decisionmaking. They saw Holistic Management as a way of helping others do the same. In turn, the Stinners helped shift their colleagues to more integrative and holistic perspectives. “Ben and I and others had a whole farmplanning grant from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program” says Deb. “I became a Holistic Management® Certified Educator to help me in my role. That project and the training was funded in part by that grant. I can’t tell you how that training has helped me professionally, with my 4


leadership and facilitation skills.” Her training increased her commitment to using her work at OARDC as a means of redefining how this research center could serve the needs of the farmers and the consumers/buyers within sustainable agriculture. In fact, OARDC has also become a liaison between the local farmers and other government agencies.

The Right Players at the Table The Sugar Creek Watershed is one of the most threatened watersheds in Ohio—right behind the Cuyahoga River. After some initial research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it was determined that agriculture played a major role in that pollution—Wayne County, one of the key counties in the Sugar Creek Watershed, is the largest dairy county in the state. However, the farmers initially rejected EPA’s premise that they were a major player in this pollution. OARDC’s Agroecosystems Management Program (AMP) had a relationship with the farmers in the area and agreed to work with the farmers to create research they felt would be helpful for them to see if they were causing pollution in the watershed. When the data came back it confirmed what the EPA had originally reported, but this time the farmers saw the value of the data because they had been involved and were therefore willing to look at how they could

Dr. Deborah Stinner (standing with microphone) has made holistic research, with farmers as one of the stackholder, a priority at the OFFER program—a branch of Ohio State University’s research.

September / October 2007

change their practices to mitigate the situation. “Farmers are natural-born problem solvers,” says Deb. “Once they accepted their responsibility, they were eager to come up with solutions.” Now the Sugar Creek Watershed Restoration Project includes farmers, other land owners, municipalities and industry within the watershed who are improving their environmental quality and resource base while creating a model system for community wide response to a major environmental issue.

Local Bread and Noodles This same participatory approach also led to one of the latest research efforts at OFFER on West Badger Farm. West Badger Farm research plots include: 15 certified organic fields that range from 2–18 acres (1-7 ha) over about 50 acres (20 ha). The 18-acre plot includes six small gauged watersheds for measuring soil erosion and water quality. Because synthetic fertilizers and pesticides were used at West Badger Farm before OFFER gained control of their fields, the farm is ideal for addressing questions about transitioning from conventional to organic production. A pet project of Deb’s is developing organic hard wheat for local breads. When she started this project in 1999, everyone said the hard winter wheat needed for making high quality bread couldn’t be grown in Northeast Ohio. Deb began tracking down wheat experts who could help identify a variety that might perform acceptably in that climate. With higher premiums for organic hard wheat ($7-10 a bushel versus $4 a bushel for conventionally grown), farmers would benefit greatly. In the 1999/2000 season OFFER had a 60 bushel/acre yield of the Karl (wheat) they planted. They have since experimented with a few other varieties and are trying to get funding to evaluate many more. In 2003, an extremely wet year, they (along with conventional farmers) struggled with Fusarium head scab. This year, Powdery mildew and cereal leaf beetles were early season problems. “Clearly, there is a need for organic management systems that will help control diseases and pests in this part of the country for both production and quality issues,” says Deb. “But, they’re finding that there is a biological buffering mechanism inherent in organic or sustainable agriculture, particularly on long-term organic farms. It’s one of the ecological services this type of agriculture offers. Pests may be present, but they are not usually at problem levels. However, with global climate change there are more factors at play and we are seeing more outbreaks of bugs or diseases when that buffer isn’t present or that may challenge

the existing buffering capacity.” More recently, Deb has received requests from two local noodle companies and a local Amish farmers’ organic marketing cooperative called Green Field Farms who would like to develop a local organic noodle industry. “We are bringing together key players along the whole chain of production—from farmers to millers, to noodle processors to consumers—including appropriate scientific experts along the way to develop this exciting possibility,” says Deb. This focus on biodiversity as the key indicator of sustainability is at the heart of Deb Stinner’s work in the OFFER program—and that includes the participatory nature of the research done with and for the Ohio farmers. “Holistic Management really demonstrated the importance of the whole for me,” says Deb. “Holistic Management is just a part of the way I think. Whether I’m working on a grant, a project, or a presentation, I’m constantly thinking of what the purpose is for this work, and that influences the direction and definition of those things. For me, Holistic Management is an optimization process.” And that’s why

Organic hard wheat is selling for $7-10/bushel compared to $4 for conventionally grown— premiums that make farmers in Northeast Ohio interested in growing it. there is hope for not only hard wheat but biologically active soils, engaged farmers, and a responsive university system.

HMI’s International Gathering 2007 Five Reasons Why You Should Go by Ben Bartlett Anyone practicing Holistic Management knows that one of the key elements is “testing” your decisions. Another powerful tool is using the five “whys” to get to the root cause of a situation. By combining these two ideas, I have come up with five reasons why you should attend HMI’s International Gathering: Practical Solutions to Complex Problems in November.

#5—The Workshops There are 30 parallel sessions with 41 speakers during this two-day Gathering. If you are involved with the land, want to make a profit, network with a group of dynamic, forward thinking people from around the world, and want to increase your Holistic Management skills, there will be many sessions that will provide you with information and ideas that can make a difference in your life and what you do.

#4—Exhibitors We always think of these people as someone with something to sell, but they are really an additional level of educators. These tradespeople want to show you the latest ideas and equipment, tell you how to use it and demonstrate the value of their product to your operation. I can’t tell you how many times, something I saw in a trade show has stimulated my problem solving and moved my operation forward. I may or may not have purchased the product, but I sure learned a lot.

To learn more about OARDC and the OFFER program, contact Deb Stinner at: 330/202-3534 or

about but never have seen in person. These people are keynote speakers because they will not only give you information, but will inspire you to move your operation to a new level. You can read their books or read their web pages, but there is nothing like hearing it live, getting your questions answered, and getting the cutting edge version of what these grand thinkers are feeling.

#2—The Participants This gathering is a chance to interact with, get to know, learn from, and visit with people just like you who are on the land or work with people on the land and know there is a better way. We all believe and learn best from our peers, people like ourselves. Great speakers inspire us to think differently, but it’s our peers who convince us that we can really do it. Your neighbors or friends may not think like you do, but other holistic managers do, and the Gathering is where they will be.

#1—Making a Difference I hope you do chose to attend the Gathering because I am sure you will gain a lot, but my number one reason is that if you don’t attend, who will? We, the world, need holistic thinkers and doers. The land needs healing. People on the land need to generate a profit from harvesting sunshine not government payments, and we need people to make decisions with the future in mind, not next quarter’s profit and loss statement.

#3—Keynote Speakers

You can make a difference. Come to the HMI Gathering and share your wisdom, your perspective, and your vision of the future. An avalanche starts with just a few snowflakes, and has a profound effect on the landscape. Be a part of the HMI Gathering and create healthy land and a sustainable future.

There are four superb keynote speakers (Joel Salatin, Temple Grandin, Thom Hartmann, and Allan Savory) who many of us have heard or read

Ben Bartlett is a stockman and HMI Board member. You can meet him at the Gathering. Number 115



HMI on Climate Change

Healthy Soils & CO2


For the earth's soils to once more sequester carbon as they formerly did it is essential to restore living soils with ever increasing organic matter and abundant life forms. When we accomplish that, both rangelands and croplands will remove billions of tons of atmospheric carbon and store it in organic matter for ages.

he earth’s ecosystem is stressed and malfunctioning due to dramatically diminished biodiversity, rapidly increasing worldwide desertification and global climate change. These are three legs of a single stool, not to be separated. This malfunctioning ecosystem has put the earth’s very breathing system at risk, among other adverse consequences, leaving the planet covered with damaged land that has lost its ability to remove sufficient amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The Solution is Under Our Feet There is a solution available to address the problem, one that has been overlooked. This solution to the problem of the CO2 we have put in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and crop and forage residue is low-tech, low-cost and risk-free. It can be implemented with the resources we possess now. Most important, it is simple. By increasing rangelands and returning them to health by managing them holistically, we can turn the tide and reverse much of the environmental devastation that has occurred. Holistic Management, which works in harmony with fundamental natural processes, is safe, secure, and offers great hope for a better future. The

benefits of using Holistic Management® Financial Planning, Grazing Planning, Land Planning and Biological Monitoring for the problem of climate change range from massively reducing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to ensuring food security to producing greater revenue than the cost of implementation.

Biodiversity, Desertification and Global Climate Change are all Interconnected Already, more than 30 million acres worldwide are being managed holistically. The earth’s dry rangelands alone are estimated by some to constitute over 12 billion acres, and the medium to higher rainfall rangelands increases this estimated area significantly. A small increase in soil organic matter over these billions of acres would remove billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere, store it, and go far toward restoring and permanently maintaining atmospheric balance.

Rangelands Non-cropland areas, commonly called rangelands, include grasslands, savannas, manmade deserts, national parks, ranches, pastoral areas and deciduous forests. By using grazing and animal impact on our planet’s vast rangelands to restore lands to health and increase organic matter in soils, we can reverse the desertification that has occurred. This has been demonstrated repeatedly for nearly fifty years in several countries.

Croplands Today, most agricultural soils are far from healthy, having lost much of their organic matter and structure due to the practices of industrial agriculture and other factors. Agricultural practices that mimic nature and restore soil health will remove and store carbon from the atmosphere risk-free. The knowledge to begin doing much of what is required is already available.

What the Experts Say About Carbon and Methane These experts tell a much different story than the widespread media reports about cattle that appeared in early 2007. Here are some unsensationalized perspectives on cattle that suggest methane research would produce different results if performed on land and cattle under Holistic Management. “Better grazing management and dietary supplementation have been identified as the most effective ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions from this sector because they improve animal nutrition and reproductive efficiency... Improved livestock management can also reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide through the mechanism of soil carbon sequestration on grazing lands... The bottom line—improved livestock management—is good for the environment and makes dollars and sense.” --U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. March 21, 2007. “Implementing proper grazing management practices to improve the quality of pastures increases animal productivity and has a significant effect on reducing CH4 emission from fermentation in the rumen.” --DeRamus, H. Alan, Terry C. Ct, Dean D. Giampola, and Peter C. Dickison. “Methane Emissions of Beef Cattle on Forages: Efficiency of Grazing Management Systems.” Journal of Environmental Quality Volume 32 (2003): 269-277. 6


September / October 2007

“In many parts of the country, beef cattle are raised using a continuous stocking approach despite the numerous economic and environmental drawbacks of this technique. Continuous stocking is a management system where cattle have uninterrupted use of a unit of grazing land throughout the grazing season.. Because controlled grazing leads to more productive cows and greater liveweight gains per acre, producers can benefit from increased profits while reducing methane emissions per pound of beef produced. An additional benefit of controlled grazing is the increased ability of the pastures to act as a sink for carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. As pasture quality improves with controlled grazing, carbon builds up in the soil and plant biomass, reducing the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” --Agriculture Education, University of Missouri, comp. Global Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship by Ruminant Livestock Producers. Missouri: National Council for Agricultural Education, 1998. “While methane emissions from enteric fermentation represent the transformation of carbon already in circulation between the earth and the atmosphere, burning fossil fuel always results in a net increase in greenhouse gases... In a high-forage system, you're fixing more carbon than you are leaching, so you're actually subtracting from the greenhouse effect... Best efficiency is found in the compromise between utilizing the most energy-efficient feed source (forage) while maintaining herd production high enough to gain reasonable feed conversion efficiency.” --Michael Main, Research Associate, Nova Scotia Agricultural College

Reduce Biomass Burning The land on the right, is being managed by Michael Kiely, a Holistic Management practitioner in New South Wales, Australia. The darker color of his land, versus that of his neighbor’s land on the left of the photograph, is an indicator of plant vigor, even in a time of drought.

According to one NASA expert, every year, the equivalent of half of Africa, is burned at some point. This is the biomass burning that occurs in forests and grasslands around the world under traditional land management practices. Biomass burning releases CO2 into the atmosphere in amounts that may rival releases due to cars burning gasoline. In fact, 40 percent of CO2 annual production is biomass burning. Because Holistic Management vastly increases the productivity of land and almost eliminates forage and crop residue, increasing rangelands and managing them holistically can significantly reduce the need for biomass burning.

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ASdS\ bVW\Ua g]c QO\ R] b] VSZ^  Support Holistic Management International’s outreach efforts to educate others about the need for animals to improve land health and sequester carbon. Contribute to the Another Gigaton of Carbon Campaign.  Buy locally grown organic produce and grassfed meat & dairy. ! Buy carbon credits for all your personal fuel emissions. " Vote with your dollars. Invest in products that conserve resources (water conserving appliances, on-demand water heaters, photovoltaics, etc.) # Support low-tech solutions for getting carbon out of the air and high-tech solutions for keeping new carbon from getting in the air. $ Reduce your ecological footprint. Learn how at: % Increase your ecological literacy. Learn how we can develop symbiotic relationships with Nature so all may thrive.

CO 2 CO 2

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More roots = more carbon stored, less carbon in the atmosphere

Less roots = less carbon stored, more carbon in the atmosphere

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& Stock Density & Patchy Landscapes—

Land Planning for Diet Selection by Jim Howell


love stock density. Apart from the aesthetic pleasure of watching huge numbers of herbivores grazing in a tight, cohesive herd, just the way nature intended, high stock density is associated with a big list of positives. Stock density refers to the concentration of a herd of animals at a specific point in time. Stocking rate is the total number of animals a property carries over the course of a year. A herd of 1,000 animals on a 100-acre (40-ha) paddock would be grazing at a stock density of 10 animals to one acre (25 animals to hectare). If those 1,000 animals were living on a 10,000-acre (4,000-ha) ranch, stocking rate would be one animal to 10 acres (4 ha). High stock density motivates livestock to get up into nooks and crannies of pastures that they would otherwise never venture into. In topographically difficult country, where fighting gravity is a constant challenge, high stock density results in cattle walking to the top of the ridge on their own free will—no labor intensive herding necessary. Historically, riparian corridors have been hammered, and the high slopes and ridges barely touched. Merely pushing stock density up to a cow/calf pair per acre (.4 ha)—with some strategically placed portable electric fence—results in cattle taking a voluntary trek up the slope, as opposed to down the creek. That level of density is still a long way from ideal (and is not meant as a benchmark), but compared to the previous norm of season-long grazing at stock densities of one pair per 25 acres (10 ha), it makes a huge, huge difference.

grazing period works out to 30 SDA (stock days per acre) or 12 SDH (stock days per hectare), and was harvested by 600 stock units grazing 100 acres for 5 days. Compared to 600 stock units grazing 400 acres for 20 days (which still works out to the same 30 SDA), the former situation will result in this more evenly spread degree of grazing intensity. This means more leaf tends to be left in the pasture post-grazing, and less plants end up producing a reproductive tiller and becoming stemmy. More leaf and less stem means more photosynthetic factory, which means more total forage production, which means higher stocking rates, which means more income.

Stock Density “Grows” More Land Of course, this modified bovine behavior means previously overrested plants and soil surfaces now get the benefit of grazing and impacting. Dung, urine, tracks, and grazing are spread across the whole landscape, as opposed to concentrated along creeks. It also opens up a whole bunch of land previously wasted, allowing for a big jump in stocking rate. The higher your stock density, the bigger your ranch. Also, the higher stock densities climb, the proportion of plants severely grazed lessens, but the proportion of plants grazed overall increases, with no greater total consumption. For example, assume total consumption by the end of the 8

Land & Livestock

This map represents an approximation of the land plan we developed on the portion of the ranch on the flat bottom country. This area of the ranch started with three pastures and ended up with 18, but many of those new pastures didn't end up containing enough plant diversity for the cattle to be able to adequately meet their nutritional needs.

September / October 2007

Animal Performance & Land Planning Lastly, assuming good grazing planning, animal performance tends to improve, because the higher the stock density, the quicker animals are able to move onto new, recovered, fresh forage. Good grazing planning is a complex art that melds practical husbandry with sound science. At its core, well planned grazing ensures that animal demand and forage supply are optimally matched, plants aren’t overgrazed, and a myriad of other factors are accounted for (livestock working logistics, wildlife needs, poisonous plant problems, family vacations, wife’s birthday, etc.) in the process of getting animals to the right place at the right time for the right reasons. But if grazing planning and implementation is not skillfully done, animal performance can suffer as opposed to improve. On top of that, I contend that poor land planning can also inhibit animal performance. Land planning is the process of designing the placement of fencing and stockwater infrastructure that (among other things) enables us to move toward higher and higher stock density. Yes, good grazing planning is essential to good animal performance, but no matter how well the grazing is being planned, if it is happening within a poorly designed land plan, it’s really tough to achieve high levels of animal performance.

cell center, six on one side of the road, and six on the other. Another new series of six pastures radiated off an existing watering/storage facility a few miles further east. We went from three big pastures in that part of the ranch to 18. When we had it completed, we were in the middle of a 16-month drought and knew all these new pastures were going to be pivotal to surviving till the next possible monsoon season, which ended up being eight months away. This part of the ranch had a significant amount of standing dormant forage, which we hadn’t touched since it quit raining. Now we could increase stock density in this part of the ranch by sixfold on average. Instead of grazing 3,000-acre (1,200-ha) pastures with our 400 pairs, we were grazing 500-acre (200-ha) pastures. We knew that level of density would get cattle to the back corners, up to three miles (4.8 km) from water—corners that we had previously barely touched. We needed that feed to make it to July. We also knew we could move cattle more quickly onto new ground, and assumed this was going to help tremendously in maintaining cattle condition.

Sixfold Stock Density This lesson stemmed from my early days of grazing planning, when my wife, Daniela, and I were employed as the on-site managers of the High Lonesome Ranch in southwestern New Mexico. We had some great successes over the course of that five-year experience, but also suffered some hard knocks that didn’t sink in until several years after the whole experience was over. We were highly motivated to push stock density as high as we could, but If we had been more aware of the need to provide this diversity, some minor changes in our fence placement it wasn’t an easy task, given that it would have greatly improved the ability of the cattle to more successfully select their diet. This is the same map was just she and I, 35,000 acres as on the previous page, but with the fences changed to take in greater diversity within each pasture. (14,000 ha) of pretty harsh desert grasslands and mountains, and a whole bunch of wild Barzona cattle (that had been very well trained to barge The Challenge of Patchiness To a degree, it all worked as planned, but in about half of those new through/ignore electric fences). The previous owner had built a couple of pastures, the cattle just were not happy. For example, if we had an eight-day grazing cells encompassing 16 pastures (and taking in about 40 percent of the ranch, including most of the mountain country), but had abandoned all grazing period planned in one of these pastures, by day two or three, the that fence after a couple of years. When Daniela and I arrived, the fences were cattle wanted out, despite lots of remaining grass. They’d stand at the cell center and bawl like babies, their flanks sucked up with hunger. In other strewn out all over the place, and those skinny red cows were dragging them pastures that seemed basically the same, the cattle were happy throughout through the brush. the whole grazing period. We had to use the grass in these unfavored Over the course of our two years, we rebuilt all that abandoned electric pastures—either that or start buying hay. We were putting out a fence, built about 40 miles (64 km) of new fence, and constructed a really molasses/fat/alcohol/urea lick, and the cattle inhaled it when in these fancy cell center with the county road running right through the middle of pastures, but still weren’t at all happy. We made it, but it was stressful on it. We eventually got those Barzona cows gentled down and trained to a hot people and cows. I suspected they were less biologically diverse pastures even wire, and to a large extent had things running reasonably smoothly when though they contained as much or more grass cover as the “good” pastures. we left for greener pastures. In desert grasslands, vegetation patterns tend to be highly mosaic in Most of the fence we built on the High Lonesome radiated out from that nature. This patchiness is tied to soil type, but I think is also largely a result very publicly visible split cell center on the county road. This was down on the flat part of the ranch, which, compared to the steep, rocky mountains on of their degraded state due to decades of partial rest and overgrazing. No the ranch’s west side, seemed pretty straightforward to develop and manage, continued on page 10 or so we thought. We built 12 nearly equal-sized pastures radiating off this Number 115

Land & Livestock


Land Planning for Diet Selection matter the cause, it’s reality across huge expanses of our western rangelands. On the High Lonesome, the “flat” country taking in our new grazing hubs did have slight ridges and depressions. The depressions were really broad draws containing about 95 percent tobosa grass (which passes as very marginal cow feed when dormant, which it usually is), and the ridges were more silty rises dominated by bare ground, broom snakeweed, and burroweed. These two “weeds” are actually low growing woody shrubs that are toxic to cattle. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Some of these ridges also contained a little black gramma grass (generally higher in quality than tobosa, especially when dormant), and soaptree yucca. A few washes had dense thickets of mesquite and catclaw (both leguminous shrubs), and fourwing saltbrush, and scattered here and there were little patches of winterfat (a very palatable shrub). Other than the saltbrush and winterfat, I didn’t regard any of the rest of those species as cow fodder. Some years the mesquites produced a few beans, and in good springs, the yuccas sent up a stalk that stayed tender and palatable for about 10 minutes. The cows liked both of those, but they were so seldom available, we figured them as insignificant. We nearly wrote the snakeweed ridges off as useless, too, assuming we needed to greatly expand their perennial grass cover before we could count them as significant contributors to forage availability. So, when we built all that new fence, we paid no attention to the type of grazing and browsing resources we were including in each pasture. We were mostly concerned with just getting our 18 new pastures built, and keeping them roughly the same size so that stock density and frequency of moves would stay reasonably constant. The result was unhappy, underperforming cattle about half the time.

continued from page nine most of their normal salad bar at the higher stock densities. Thinking back on it, if we had been conscious of this principle, it would have taken just a little modification to our fencing layout to greatly improve the diversity, and therefore the ability to select, in each of our new pastures (see accompanying maps). Here in Colorado, the rangelands we manage, for the most part, have lots of diversity, and this diversity isn’t patchy. It’s a well-mixed diversity. Each acre tends to have lots of species. But even here, there can be a big difference in animal behavior depending on the types of range sites to which the cattle have access. The ranch we lease is mostly comprised of three canyons running north and south. For the most part, each pasture we’ve created takes in both the west and east facing slopes of the canyon (each pasture is basically a cross section of the canyon). The east facing, wetter slopes tend to have higher levels of diversity—more grass species, and lots more forbs. The west facing slopes are dominated by a bunch grass of the Festuca genus. It comprises roughly 90 percent of the vegetation on these slopes. At reasonably high stock density, cattle will climb these west-facing slopes and consume this bunch grass, and they do it without complaining. But, they do complain if they can’t get to the other side of the canyon. If they only have access to the west-facing slope, no matter how much grass is there, they just do not like it. They need to balance that bunch grass with the diversity across the canyon. We have one pasture that is almost solely comprised of one of these west-facing slopes, and it drove me crazy this year. Next year, I’m going to shift the fence around to include more diversity.

My mind traveled back to those bawling Barzona cows standing in shin-deep, dormant tobosa grass, looking across the fence at that snakeweed ridge.

Salad Bar Restriction Dr. Fred Provenza, from Utah State University (see “Cows Have Culture, Too” in IN PRACTICE # 82), has done some great work in this area. I had the chance to attend a day-long course taught by Provenza several years ago. After he explained about how native animals learn what to eat (usually eating a little bit of lots of things), that toxic plants usually aren’t toxic if consumed only up to a certain point, and that animals need to be able to select from a diversity of plants to meet their energy, protein, mineral, and vitamin needs, a lightbulb went on. My mind traveled back to those bawling Barzona cows standing in shin-deep, dormant tobosa grass, looking across the fence at that snakeweed ridge. The snakeweed ridge was comprised of a different soil type, so the plants growing on it had a different nutrient profile. The snakeweed itself, though toxic if consumed in abundance, actually had a little green in it, and these native cows knew they needed a bite. Never in their lives had these cows been in the predicament of having nothing to consume but tobosa grass. They knew how to make a living in this harsh landscape, but if they were restricted to one little corner of their salad bar, they were immediately unable to meet their needs—especially in the middle of a 16-month drought. It’s true that at the conventional low stock densities these cattle were accustomed to, lots of country was underused and overrested. But, on any given day, they had the option to graze tobosa grass, pick a few twigs off the winterfat and saltbrush, lick up a few old mesquite beans, and chew on some prickly pear cactus. When we built all that fence, we didn’t realize that they still needed to have the ability to access 10

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September / October 2007

Big Herds are Better A stock density of five stock units to the acre can be accomplished with a herd of five animals on one acre, or 5,000 stock units on 1,000 acres. Due to the behavioral changes that occur with ever larger herds, the effect on each acre in both of these cases will not be the same. Despite the same level of density for the same amount of time, the big herd will create a much more well-disturbed soil surface and more evenly grazed landscape. Because of this, Allan Savory has long preached that ranches, as units of management, need to get bigger so that we can create these bigger herds. But, in the patchy environments that characterize lots of the arid and semi-arid areas of the world, there’s another big advantage to large herds. Take the extreme case above. If you’re out on the flat desert grasslands of southwestern New Mexico, moving a herd of five head to a new acre every couple days, the patchy nature of the landscape will result in drastic changes to the daily salad bar. The cattle would not be able to take it—not without lots of outside supplements. The 5,000 head herd, on the other hand, with access to a new patch of 1,000 acres every couple days, is far more likely to have lots of choice on each 1000-acre block. So with bigger herds grazing bigger areas, providing a full salad bar becomes far more practical. That’s why I love stock density. There is no more powerful means to cycle carbon, plant seeds, break soil caps, and fertilize the soil than with big herbivores grazing in big herds. But, this is not easy to accomplish, especially in low production, highly brittle landscapes, so whatever we can learn to help us in this quest needs to be shared. The practical insights gained through the research of Dr. Provenza, combined with intimate knowledge of our specific landscapes, can help ensure we not only heal our land, but our livestock stays healthy and we are profitable in the process.

9 Things to Stop Doing by Wayne Burleson

4. Stop pulling calves

The Driggs switched from conventional bulls to Barzona bulls (, known for lighter calf weights. Now they no longer have to get up at night to assist laboring cows. 5. Stop winter and early spring calving


n 1995 the Quirk Cattle Company, a century-old family ranch near Eureka, Montana, was concerned about the future. The owners, Faye and Leland Driggs, strived each day to take good care of their 300 cows on the 3,000-acre (1,200-ha) ranch. However, there was a problem. Daily chores were becoming more than they could handle. Operating costs kept rising, and the only solution seemed to be to improve production. They had alfalfa to plant, cut, bale, and haul; calves to pull, tag, and wean; cows to feed and pregnancy-test; fields to irrigate; equipment to maintain; and more.

Stressed to the Max They were stressed and even thought of selling the ranch. Finally, they got some inspiring advice at a hands-on grazing workshop. There they met Don and Cleo Shaules. The Shaules family calve a 680-cow herd plus 280 replacement heifers, do most chores by Faye and Leland Driggs stopped doing some themselves, and still smile at the end of the day. of their chores and changed their Montana At the workshop the ranch from one of daily drudgery to a highly Driggs were introduced to efficient cattle operation. a new way of making daily decisions. They learned about a holistic way to operate their ranch, basic grassland ecology, and land monitoring. They observed 1,200 animals move through a round wagon-wheel watering system to the sound of a whistle. The Driggs went home and started questioning. They discussed the real purpose of their ranch and set goals for quality of life. They put down in writing what they wanted their ranch to become: “We want a sustainable, profitable, family ranch. We want to enjoy our daily work with time off to get away, knowing the ranch is secure. We want our ranch to be peaceful. We want improved land, better soils, and healthier plants and livestock.” Then with these goals in mind, they made a “To Do” list. Only this time it became a “Stop To Do” list. It contained these items: 1. Stop using fuel guzzlers The Driggs sold their heavy equipment for farming and haying. Now they buy their grain and hay from full-time growers. “It doesn’t pay to own equipment for part-time use,” says Leland. “The only fuel we use now is for a 1-ton feed truck, pickup, car, and four-wheeler.” 2. Stop haying The Driggs experimented with not haying for a few years and kept accurate financial records of all their expenses. They made a decision to buy quality hay from a neighbor and let him haul the hay to their place for winter feeding. The hidden benefit is that a portion of the neighbor’s energy (organic matter) and busy work (fertilizers, repairs, and so on) went into the Driggs’ soil, lowering the need to replant and fertilize their hay fields. 3. Stop fertilizing hay fields Instead of commercial fertilizer, the Driggs now use manure from grazing cattle. And the livestock recycle forage back into the soils by stepping on it, increasing soil fertility.

Over several years the Driggs moved their calving dates later in the season to avoid cold-weather calving. Now they calve in June on green grass. This gives the family more time for winter vacations. It is much less work, which is especially a benefit on cold nights. For example, even with Montana’s current droughty conditions, the ranch calved 284 calves from a herd of 287 cows last year. This was all done without watching the cows or heifers calve-out. 6. Stop irrigating by hand

Instead of moving irrigation equipment by hand, Leland found a small gasoline-powered, self-propelled ditch crawler that drags irrigation dams down a level ditch. This now self-irrigates his 300 acres of hay meadows. 7. Stop weaning calves in the fall

When the Driggs stopped weaning calves in the fall, they reduced their workload by only having one herd to feed through the winter instead of two. This resulted in 100 more pounds of beef per calf and much less work with the same amount of hay. 8. Stop leasing public lands

This idea saved the Driggs both headaches and money. It stopped the stressful phone calls about their livestock on open rangeland and placed another $30,000 in total yearly expenses back into their pockets. It also gave them more quality time to take better care of their home ranch. 9. Stop chasing livestock The Driggs built a labor-saving grazing cell – a round doughnut-shape corral system with gates designed to let livestock move themselves to different pastures. You close the currently used water access gate, open a new side gate into the adjacent ungrazed pasture, and then open that pasture’s water access gate. The livestock must move into the ungrazed pasture to drink. Saying no to old habits is hard. Leland has to force himself to walk past the swather when the alfalfa starts to bloom. Faye misses that great smell of freshcut hay. But they now enjoy a more profitable ranch that is less work and more manageable to operate. They are making better decisions. Faye and Leland Driggs can be reached at 406/889-3846. Wayne Burleson is a Certified Educator and land management consultant from Absarokee, Montana. He can be reached at 406/328-6808 or or This article is reprinted by permission from Successful Farming®, © 2007 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Driggs family now grazes their hay fields, using the cattle for fertilizer instead of making hay and buying commercial fertilizer. Number 115

Land & Livestock


Creating a Sustainable Ranching Culture—

Rancho de la Inmaculada by Ann Adams


hat would you do if your father had just died, your ranch was on the verge of bankruptcy, and your siblings were about to put you jail if you didn’t sign the sale of the family ranch? Most of us have never been in that tough a place, and we hope to God we never are. But, Ivan Aguirre had to face that challenge. Out of the ashes of his father’s dream, Ivan has not only created a highly profitable ranch in Sonora, Mexico, but he is working with others to create a sustainable ranching culture—one based on Holistic Management.

stocking rate from needing 70 acres/SAU (28 ha/SAU) to 20-28 acres/SAU (8-11 ha/SAU). But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ivan readily admits that he created some additional challenges for the ranch in the mid-‘90s when he began to treat the ranch more like a system and not pay attention to what it was telling him. As his stocking rate started to decrease, he wasn’t doing the monitoring or the analysis necessary to respond to this challenge. By the late ‘90s, Ivan and Martha knew they had to make some

Photos 2-3. Sustainable ranching relies on biodiversity. La Inmaculada has plenty of biodiversity with grasses, forbs, and trees (left side of road). The other side of the road tells the story of much of Sonora—bare ground and mesquite (right side of road). Ivan and his wife, Martha, and their children, Dacia, Ivan Eusebio, Aurelio, and Marco, live outside of Hermosillo on their 25,000-acre ranch (10,000-ha), Rancho de La Inmaculada. Ivan’s father acquired the ranch in 1974 and spent a great deal of money trying to make it “The New Ranch” by taking the advice of the leading universities and bulldozing the land, planting exotic buffel grass, and creating a huge irrigation system to water it all. It was this unsustainable approach that led to the near bankruptcy of La Inmaculada. When Ivan took over the ranch in 1983, he worked hard to get the ranch out of debt by selling off all the abandoned infrastructure of pumps, center pivots, and machinery and taking in stocker cattle. But he still was missing something. He didn’t know what that was until he heard Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia talk about Holistic Management at a Mexican agricultural conference in 1985. That talk gave him the inspiration to not only reclaim his dream of a prospering ranch, but it also have a vision of his contribution to the world—sharing with others who want to ranch sustainably.

Profitable Ranching Ivan devoted himself to understanding and practicing Holistic Management. The ranch began to turn around as the family moved from a conventional management approach to the holistic, watershed approach inherent in Holistic Management. In the 20 years since he was first introduced to Holistic Management, Ivan has reduced mature capped soil from 53 percent to 3 percent. Likewise, he has more than tripled his 12

Land & Livestock

September / October 2007

Aurelio Estevan on his blue roan is part of the next generation that will continue on the legacy of sustainable ranching at Rancho de la Inmaculada.

changes unless they were equity—the amount they had accumulated before learning about Holistic willing to risk the ranch Management. They are also increasing their net profit per acre through again. This time they adding additional enterprises to their ranching activities including knew where to turn— generating income from the plentiful resource of mesquite. they returned to their Instead of spending time and money ripping the trees, burning, and holisticgoal and began spraying herbicides, the Aguirres manage that resource as thoughtfully as to make decisions using their grass. They have shipped 8,000 tons mesquite charcoal, and continue the Holistic Management® to do so with a rate of 40 tons per month, under a sustainable pruning and decision-making thinning with 12-16 year recovery period. They mill any log greater than framework. By 2005 they 5 inches (125 mm) in diameter and less than 13 inches (325 mm) to make were debt free and felt hardwood flooring and high end furniture. The smaller diameter goes to Cardinals are one of the many species that confident that they could make charcoal. They also harvest the high protein mesquite pods and grind enjoy the improved wildlife habitat the adapt to the challenges them into flour to sell. In addition to these sources of income, the Aguirres Aguirres have created by improving the of their landscape and also offer mule deer, quail, and dove hunts, and training in sustainable health of their land. the market. ranching practices so others can learn from them. La Inmaculada receives 11 inches (275 mm) of rain. So do the The Bigger Picture neighboring ranches. But where you see only mesquite and bare ground on the neighbors’ properties, you find many species of trees, cacti, and grass on The Aguirres are committed to improving the health of the land La Inmaculada including ironwood, saguaro, cholla, senita cacti, needle and improving the habitat for cattle and wildlife. Their commitment grama grass, baccaris grass, palo verde, and desert broom. and the results they’ve achieved have been noticed by many conservation So why the difference? Ivan’s planned grazing has led to a more groups including The Nature Conservancy. Joaquin Murrieta Saldivar effective water cycle and mineral cycle which leads to increased at the Sonoran Institute in Tucson notes, "More than 80 percent of biodiversity including a biologically the land [in the Sonoran Desert in active soil. The difference in the Mexico] is in private hands. If effectiveness of the water cycle conservation is going to work, it manifests itself in many ways. will have to happen on private When the Aguirres hired a lands." The Aguirres are in the mesquite consultant to determine forefront of that work. yield projects, the expectation was “My family is initiating .25 inch thick sapwood. But, the a national crusade for the Aguirres found they had a one-inch conservation, restoration, and thick sapwood—similar to what development of the rural you might find in a climate that environment,” says Ivan. has four times the rainfall. “In 2002-2003 we organized When Ivan first began holistic ourselves as a family ranching planned grazing, the ranch had entity, the constitution of the only one paddock. They now have Rural Association of Producers 49 paddocks with an average size of (Sociedad de Producción Rural). 320 acres (128 ha) per paddock. To We decided to include a transincrease stock density, ranch hands generational tool in order to secure herd the cattle daily working toward our long-term succession on the grazing periods of a day or two. ranch. We decided to develop a Cattle and horses find many food sources at Rancho de la Inmaculada The fenced areas range from flexible legal document based on like this prosopis. 25 acres (10 ha) to 1,500 acres our holisticgoal (which includes (600). In paddocks smaller than 500 acres (200 ha), one or two of the ranch our ecosystem vision). In this way, this legal public document sustains our hands herd, graze, place/accommodate cattle wherever they want them reason for being, as well as the terms, clauses, laws, regulations, and within the potrero (paddock). In larger areas, two to four hands perform specific protocol.” the daily task of herding. Says Ivan, “We have been learning, I would That’s the kind of forward thinking approach necessary to sustain not say relearning, the old tricks, abilities and culture of spending lots of hours only ranching in the Sonoran Desert, but a healthy, biologically diverse with the animals, training them and ourselves to some day become full landscape. The Aguirres’ commitment to improving the health of the land time herders.” and the economic and social viability of their community can be seen in The Aguirres’ currently have 17 water points they have developed almost the increased number of employees, health of the land, and number of exclusively with their own income—up from the one water point that existed Mexican ranchers, university faculty, and extension agents learning the in the early ‘80s. Their land plan is to have at least one water point for every art of sustainable ranching at Rancho de la Inmaculada. 1,250 acres (500 ha) so they can continue to improve their stock density, herd effect, and gain: grazing ratio. Ivan Aguirre is a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in With the increased stocking rate, the Aguirres have been able to pay off Sonora, Mexico. He can be reached at: 52-637-935-2804 or their debt instead of being held captive by a debt ratio of 85 percent of 915/613-4282 or Number 115

Land & Livestock


Resiliency Down Under—

Drought-Proofing in New South Wales by Jim Howell


s the world’s most drought-prone country, Australia can be a tough place to make a living from grass. The recent drought across winter-rainfall dominant, southern Australia has been so pronounced that most of the world has been aware of the dire situation. When the world’s driest continent makes news for being dry, it’s really dry. Conventional cattle and sheep farmers across New South Wales and Victoria have routinely spent on the order of $250/cow (and $55/sheep) on purchased feed to pull through the drought. Many sold out. Through the whole process, I periodically checked in with the Coughlan family (see “The Coughlans of Tarabah,” IN PRACTICE # 107). Their focus on functional cattle, healthy ecosystem processes, and diligent grazing planning, I reasoned, was sure to give them a huge advantage in surviving this tough situation. Turns out that they not only survived, but thrived. Now, after having received reasonable moisture since April, they have more cattle than when the drought started, and they didn’t buy in a pound of forage. It was a challenging experience, don’t get me wrong. Tough decisions had to be made, and decisive action had to be taken.

calves at side, no matter condition or price. They did feel they could afford to hold onto all of their yearling heifers. After culling just the bottom 5 percent, the balance was put in with mature cows.

Property Swapping and Herd Amalgamation

Back at the beginning of November, the Coughlans had done their forage assessments and dormant (closed) season grazing planning. They knew how much grass they could count on until, at the earliest, the following May (six months away), and made plans accordingly. They estimated that at Tarabah, they had enough feed for all of their cattle still on hand (from both properties) to last the entire dormant season. Talk about peace of mind. On Moombril, things were looking tighter, but they still had enough feed to last the pairs at Moombril for the first 90 days of the dormant season. After those first 90 days (now mid-Feb), calves were weaned on Moombril and sent to Tarabah. The cows were kept on for another 30 days and then, with the exception of a small herd of 200 cows (and all their bulls) kept at Moombril, all the Moombril cows were sent to Tarabah (mid-March). All of these cattle—Moombril cows, Tarabah cows, weaned calves from Moombril, and yearling heifers, were combined into one Destocking Early giant herd on Tarabah—a whopping 4,880 head of cattle. The Coughlans own two properties in southern New South Wales, On November 28, just a month into the dormant season, a fire took Tarabah (drier) and Moombril (wetter, rolling country in the foothills of out 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) on Tarabah, which amounted to about 20 the Snowy Mountains). In 2006, Tarabah received eight inches (207 mm) days worth of grazing. That was a big chunk, and necessitated tighter of the 17-inch (425-mm) average, and Moombril 10.5 inches (267 mm) rationing of forage in the remaining paddocks. The Coughlans refined of the normal 30 inches (750 mm). Much of the rain that did come came down to half day moves instead of one day moves. In general, 250 acres outside of its normal concentrated period (100 ha) represented one day of from May to November and was largely grazing for the big mob of cows. In ineffective. In the 100+ years that rainfall their grazing planning, a 375-acre records have been kept in New South (150-ha) paddock would have been Wales, 2006 ranked among the poorest slotted for only one day of grazing, 10 percent. after rounding down from 1.5 to one “We were getting nervous by the end of day. Now, with half day moves, the June,” said Michael, “and started to sell cows were left in these paddocks for surplus cattle in July and had them all off 1.5 days. This enabled them to pick by the middle of August.” Most of these up these 20 lost days and make it to cattle were yearling steers that would have the end of April. been held over through the green season Throughout the entire dormant and not sold till October/November. season, only one selection (or grazing Instead of the typical weight spread of 814 period) was planned in each paddock. - 1,012 pounds (370-460 kg) at sale date, On both Tarabah and Moombril, the the yearlings came in a little lighter, from After months of no moisture, a scant .68 inches (17 mm), Coughlans have on the order of 90 the first to come as the drought gradually subsided, created 704 – 898 pounds (320- 408 kg). But, paddocks, which means that for the getting those mouths off the farm early in an immediate response on Moombril, the Coughlans' wetter bulk of the dormant season, when property at the base of the Snowy Mountains. Moombril is the growing season resulted in lots more only one big herd of animals was forage on hand when the sparse rains quit on the right of the fence, the neighbors on the left. Note the being managed on each property, difference in cover, which was the key to the rainfall response. for good in November. grazing periods were seldom longer By August, which should have been the Toward the end of the drought, the Coughlans moved the bulk than two days. of the Moombril herd to their other property, Tarabah, before middle of the wet, the Coughlans were Production Protected depleting their source of litter on Moombril. On the neighbor's under no illusions that things were going side, due to no litter, a severely damaged water cycle, and poor to turn for the better, and stuck to their By early April, feed conditions were plant vigor, response to this first rain was negligible at best. program of shipping all cows with no deteriorating, and the original 14

Land & Livestock

September / October 2007

Tarabah cows were starting to slip in improved immensely. Michael states condition. These cows had had their that in normal years, Tarabah and calves at side since June and July, nine Moombril now reach the end of the to ten months earlier. On a body dormant season with 100 percent condition score scale of 1-5, they were ground cover, perfectly primed to falling from a 4 to a 3, so things respond to the new season’s rain. weren’t dire by any means, but action This year, he estimates that ground These are the Tarabah cows on Sept. 1, 2006, after negligible had to be taken, especially given that cover as of late April was closer to precipitation through what should have been the heart of the there was no guarantee that new green 90 percent, and the cover itself rainy season. Nonetheless, the grass is coming, due to Tarabah's grass was on the horizon. Playing catch was thinner than normal. But, nearly 100 percent covered soil surface. Enough grass ended up up with cow condition is always considering the difficult year, he and growing over the balance of the next two months (with agonizing and costly. Anna were satisfied with the result. continued way below normal precipitation) to carry all of the So calves were weaned, and the cows Now, since the rains have commenced Coughlan's cattle straight through the drought, which (on immediately started to pick back up in and the land has had the chance to Tarabah) finally broke in late April, 2007. The mother cows had condition, even without any rain or new reveal its resilience, the Coughlans calves at side for 10 months, and bred up 91 percent straight green grass. On Moombril, it had started are relieved to see that their dormant through, including yearling heifers. to rain in early April. Because only season planning did its job from the 200 cows plus the bulls remained on land’s point of view. Moombril, and because the soil surface had been left in excellent However, there are differences across the properties. On Tarabah, condition when most of the cows left in March, the grass on Moombril Michael has noted a marked difference in response to rain in different sprang back to life immediately. So, to further relieve the pressure on sized paddocks. The smallest paddocks averaging 250 acres (100 ha) have Tarabah, the 950 Moombril cows were sent back home to their first green responded the best. Up to 1,000 acres (400 ha), the response has been grass since November. Also, the drys were immediately sold and the “pretty good” overall. Michael feels that to go the next step and really Tarabah cows were all preg tested—with a 91 percent birth rate including build in resiliency, they would like to develop to 180 paddocks on both the coming two year old heifers! properties. Those three actions relieved a lot of pressure on Tarabah. If the rains How’d the Neighbors Fare? failed to start in May, the Coughlans felt they still had two months worth of standing dormant forage. The mature cows would have done fine, but Certified Educator Bruce Ward, who works closely with the Coughlans Michael says the yearling heifers would have battled to reach breeding in the same management club, has noted that across much of droughtweight. Most of us are worried about getting yearling heifers bred in the stricken Australia, the response to rain has been much less dramatic. The good years, let alone in a year like this. winter in general has been quite cold, and the generally bare landscape On April 28th it started to rain on Tarabah. As of July 15th, Tarabah has struggled to come away with new grass. had received eight inches (195 mm), and Moombril 14.5 inches (360 You might be wondering how heavily the Coughlans stock their mm). The grass is growing like gangbusters, all the new babies are on properties. It’s easy to negotiate a drought if you’re stocked way below the ground, the yearlings are packing on the weight, and the cows are your carrying capacity. Admittedly, Michael acknowledges that they fat again. They made it. haven’t been pushing stocking rate, but are building their herd through retaining replacements as their specific ecological conditions dictate. In Resiliency & Land Health the drier district where Tarabah is located, they are nonetheless stocked at With good holistic grazing planning, the land gradually becomes about the average of the district. But, although they don’t have hard data, more drought resistant. With a healthy water cycle and vigorous they suspect that virtually no average farmer survived the drought with plants with deep root systems, dry years are a lot less dry, since water more cattle than they started with (as the Coughlans did), especially after soaks in more effectively, and healthy plants use what does soak in having bought in no outside feed. more efficiently. In the district surrounding Moombril—an inherently much higher Also, with good graze/trample to recovery ratios and high stock producing area—high input farmers are stocked roughly 30 percent density, grass plants have the chance to capture more sunlight, the grass heavier than the Coughlans. But these high input operations apply lots that does grow can be efficiently rationed with little trampling waste, and of fertilizer and put up lots of hay, something the Coughlans have steered the cattle can be maintained in good condition due to a steady plane of clear of. nutrition and frequent moves onto fresh, unfouled forage. All things considered, excessive, untapped carrying capacity had Allan Savory rightly points out that most droughts are man-made. nothing to do with this success story. It was the result of a holistically The Coughlans’ positive experience in surviving this drought is a strong resilient, pastoral model—solid ecology, adapted genetics, sound, timely testament to Savory’s controversial assertion. Since 1997, when holistic decision-making, and skilled, decisive action. Congratulations, grazing planning commenced on Tarabah, ecological conditions have Coughlans—your pastoral prowess continues to inspire. Number 115

Land & Livestock


2007 Southern Africa Conference

working with community-based conservancies to regenerate the land, bring back wildlife, and improve livelihoods through livestock. This event by Constance Neely and Craig Leggett was opened by the Governor of the greater Kunene uring the latter part of May, Dickson Richardson at his farm, Brussels Estate, in region, who stressed the importance of the holistic Community Dynamics hosted range management efforts. Vryburg. While Guy worked with a group of local “A Roving Conference” across The herders were fascinated by Guy’s work. ranchers on low-stress livestock handling, Dick South Africa and Namibia, exposing They brought him 150 cows that had never been gave a powerful presentation on livestock’s role in farmers, herders, workers, and others to brilliant herded and asked him to move them to the kraal veldt management and sustainable (and more examples of Holistic Management in action and a kilometer away. When Guy completed that task enjoyable) livelihoods. Stop Four was Mocopane, showcasing low-stress livestock handling by he was invited to move a huge,16-year old oxen Limpopo, hosted by Wayne and Hilary Knight and Guy Glosson and his wife, Barbara, from Texas. through a crush (chute)—an oxen that had never their parents. The roving began at Blanerne, the farm of Ian, Stop Five was in the Kunene region of Namibia been confined in a crush before. Needless to say, Pam, and William Mitchell-Innes in Kwa Zulu and was hosted by the Herero and Himba Guy handily did it. Natal province and at the nearby farm of Ian & Stop Six, the last stop, was a gathering outside communities through the efforts of Colin Nott, Rachael Riddell. Guy taught low-stress livestock Assistant Director for Integrated Rural Development of Windhoek, Nambia of farmers, farm hands, and handling skills at the kraal stressing the positive Holistic Management enthusiasts. Wiebke Volkmann and Nature Conservation (IRDNC). IRDNC is benefits: calm cattle, better organized this event, with weight gain, improved help from colleagues and conception rates, better board members of the quality meat and hides. Ian Namibia Centre for Holistic Mitchell-Innes gave tours of Management, which included Blanerne showing how the a demonstration on perennial land has been transformed grasses, a program on using livestock for improved working with horses, and land health. Stop Two was low-stress animal handling. Adelaide, Eastern Cape where Congratulations to Ian, Guy, and Barbara put on Community Dynamics a show hosted by The Fish and all the people who Guy Glosson taught many people throughout South Africa and Namibia the art of River Management Club. helped create this Stop Three was hosted by low-stress livestock handling, including Herero and Himba herders. extraordinary event!


Book Review

by Tony Malmberg

Holistic Management Handbook: Healthy Land, Healthy Profits by Jody Butterfield, Allan Savory & Sam Bingham • Island Press, 2006


t wouldn’t be easy to write a book in the “how to” genre about Holistic Management planning. Most “how to” books dull the sense with rote recipes. But not the authors of Holistic Management Handbook: Healthy Land, Healthy Profits, Jody Butterfield, Sam Bingham, and Allan Savory, who constantly remind us to think and be creative. Jody Butterfield finds an easy balance of conversation, while remaining precise. For example, in the section “Mineral Cycle: Assessing Its Effectiveness,” there is no judgment, presumption, or condescension, but merely a nudge for the reader to think it through. Old hand’s practicing Holistic Management, will 16


appreciate the planning guides being cleaned up and in one book. But beyond convenience, this book is punchy and fresh. You will get new insights, like in the hard-hitting financial planning summary: “…you really can bring people together, set a holisticgoal, and eliminate the no-man’s-land of silence, the planning won’t require any selfdiscipline at all.” Now, that makes me want to go back and see what I’ve been missing! Boxes scattered throughout highlight clues to better planning practices. I wish I’d seen the one titled “Selecting Appropriate Enterprises” before we decided to eliminate some of our marginal enterprises. Another box explains positive deviation, which will give you a fresh look at your ranch. Of course, those of you just beginning will read it all, cover to cover, and get insights that the skimmers will miss. But take the repeated advice to read the textbook, Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making, first. Ignoring this advice is like venturing into a frontier with a compass and no magnetic north. The Handbook can only guide us through our

September / October 2007

planning after we have the fixed points of a holisticgoal, the key insights, understanding of tools and the ecosystem processes firmly grasped. The desperate and the smart are the first to adopt the new and better way. This book is for them, the Holistic Management practitioners looking to improve their planning processes. Skeptics will not see themselves in the epilog, which states, “Too many people forfeit those [planning] benefits by clinging without reflection to what always was.” Holistic Management practitioners have moved beyond what was. A book on Holistic Management“ planning and monitoring silently screams for a social monitoring/planning process to round out the whole of planning, which is not evident in this text. While this is perhaps not in the scope of this book, it is a need nonetheless. Allan Savory says practicing Holistic Management is simple, but it’s not easy. With the Holistic Management Handbook, it just got a lot easier. Tony Malmberg is a Certified Educator and rancher in Lander, Wyoming.

Certified Educators To our knowledge, Certified Educators are the best qualified individuals to help others learn to practice Holistic Management and to provide them with technical assistance when necessary. On a yearly basis, Certified Educators renew their agreement to be affiliated with HMI. This agreement requires their commitment to practice Holistic Management in their own lives, to seek out opportunities for staying current with the latest developments in Holistic Management and to maintain a high standard of ethical conduct in their work. For more information about or application forms for the HMI’s Certified Educator Training Programs, contact Ann Adams or visit our website at: THESE EDUCATORS PROVIDE HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT INSTRUCTION * ON BEHALF OF THE INSTITUTIONS THEY REPRESENT.


UNITED STATES Roland Kroos 4926 Itana Circle, Bozeman, MT 59715 406/522-3862 • * Cliff Montagne P.O. Box 173120 Montana State University Department of Land Resources & Environmental Science Bozeman, MT 59717 406/994-5079 •

Jim Weaver 428 Copp Hollow Rd. Wellsboro, PA 16901-8976 570/724-7788 •

Terry Gompert P.O. Box 45 Center, NE 68724-0045 402/288-5611 (w)




Bill Burrows 12250 Colyear Springs Road Red Bluff, CA 96080 530/529-1535 • 530/200-2419 (c) Richard King 1675 Adobe Rd. Petaluma, CA 94954 707/769-1490 707/794-8692(w) Christopher Peck 6364 Starr Rd. Windsor, CA 95492 707/758-0171 * Rob Rutherford CA Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 805/756-1475

Constance Neely 1160 Twelve Oaks Circle Watkinsville, GA 30677 706/310-0678 39-348-210-6214 (Italy)

* Seth Wilner 24 Main Street, Newport, NH 03773 603/863-4497 (h) • 603/863-9200 (w)

COLORADO Joel Benson P.O. Box 4924 Buena Vista, CO 81211 719/395-6119 Cindy Dvergsten 17702 County Rd. 23 Dolores, CO 81323 970/882-4222 Daniela and Jim Howell P.O. Box 67 Cimarron, CO 81220-0067 970/249-0353 Craig Leggett 2078 County Rd. 234 Durango, CO 81301 970/946-1771 Byron Shelton 33900 Surrey Lane Buena Vista, CO 81211 719/395-8157 Tom Walther P.O. Box 1158 Longmont, CO 80502-1158 510/499-7479

* Margaret Smith Iowa State University, CES Sustainable Agriculture 972 110th St., Hampton, IA 50441-7578 515/294-0887 • LOUISIANA Tina Pilione P.O. 923, Eunice, LA 70535 phone: 337/580-0068 MAINE Vivianne Holmes 239 E. Buckfield Rd. Buckfield, ME 04220-4209 207/336-2484 Tobey Williamson 52 Center St., Portland, ME 04101 207/774-2458 x115 MICHIGAN Ben Bartlett N4632 ET Road, Traunik, MI 49891 906/439-5210 (h) • 906/439-5880 (w) MINNESOTA Gretchen Blank 4625 Cottonwood Lane N Plymouth, MN 55442-2902 612/670-9606 MONTANA Wayne Burleson 322 N. Stillwater Rd., Absarokee, MT 59001 406/328-6808 •

Larry Dyer Olney Friends School 61830 Sandy Ridge Road Barnesville, OH 47313 740/425-3655 (w) 740/425-2775 (h) PENNSYLVANIA





NEW MEXICO * Ann Adams Holistic Management International 1010 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102 505/842-5252 Kirk Gadzia P.O. Box 1100, Bernalillo, NM 87004 505/867-4685 • (f) 505/867-9952 David Trew 369 Montezuma Ave. #243 Santa Fe, NM 87501 505/988-1508 • Vicki Turpen 03 El Nido Amado SW Albuquerque, NM 87121 505/873-0473 • Kelly White No. 4 El Nido Amado SW Albuquerque, NM 87121-7300 505/873-1324 (h) • 505/379-1866 (c)

Christina Allday-Bondy 2703 Grennock Dr. Austin, TX 78745 512/441-2019 Guy Glosson 6717 Hwy 380, Snyder, TX 79549 806/237-2554 Peggy Maddox P.O. Box 694 Ozona, TX 76943-0694 325/392-2292 * R. H. (Dick) Richardson University of Texas at Austin Department of Integrative Biology, Austin, TX 78712 512/471-4128 Peggy Sechrist 106 Thunderbird Rd., Fredericksburg, TX 78624 830/990-2529 Elizabeth Williams 4106 Avenue B Austin, TX 78751-4220 512/323-2858

NEW YORK Erica Frenay 454 Old 76 Road Brooktondale, NY 14817 607/539-3246 (h) • 607/279-7978 (c) Phil Metzger 99 N. Broad St. Norwich, NY 13815 607/334-3231 x4 (w) • 607/334-2407 (h) John Thurgood 17 Spruce St., Oneonta, NY 13820 607/432-8714 NORTH DAKOTA * Wayne Berry Williston State College, P.O. Box 1326 Williston, ND 58802 701/774-4277

WASHINGTON Craig Madsen P.O. Box 107, Edwall, WA 99008 509/236-2451 Sandra Matheson 228 E. Smith Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226 360/398-7866 Doug Warnock 1880 SE Larch Ave. College Place, WA 99324 509/525-3389 (w) • 509/525-3295 (h) 509/856-7101 (c) WEST VIRGINIA Fred Hays P.O. Box 241, Elkview, WV 25071 304/548-7117

Number 115







Heather Flashinski 16294 250th St., Cadott, WI 54727 715/289-4896 Andy Hager W. 3597 Pine Ave., Stetsonville, WI 54480-9559 715/678-2465 • * Laura Paine Wisconsin DATCP N893 Kranz Rd., Columbus, WI 53925 608/224-5120 (w) • 920/623-4407 (h)

Brian Marshall P.O. Box 300, Guyra NSW 2365 61-2-6779-1927 fax: 61-2-6779-1947 Jason Virtue Mary River Park 1588 Bruce Highway South, Gympie, QLD 4570 61-7-5483-5155

WYOMING Andrea & Tony Malmberg 768 Twin Creek Road, Lander, WY 82520 307/335-7485 (w) • 307/332-5073 (h) 307/349-8624 (c) •

INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA Judi Earl 73 Harding E, Guyra, NSW 2365 61-2-6779-2286 Mark Gardner P.O. Box 1395, Dubbo, NSW 2830 61-2-6884-4401 Paul Griffiths P.O. Box 3045, North Turramura, NSW 2074, Sydney, NSW 61-2-9144-3975

Bruce Ward P.O. Box 103, Milsons Pt., NSW 1565 61-2-9929-5568 fax: 61-2-9929-5569 Brian Wehlburg c/o “Sunnyholt”, Injune, QLD 4454 61-7-4626-7187

CANADA Don Campbell Box 817 Meadow Lake, SK S9X 1Y6 306/236-6088


Helen Lewis P.O. Box 1263, Warwick, QLD 4370 61-7-46617393 61-7-46670835

Arturo Mora Benitez San Juan Bosco 169 Fracc., La Misión Celaya, Guanajuato 38016 52-461-615-7632

Jorge Efrain Morales Martinez Calle Primero de Mayo #578-A Col. Centro Histórico, Morelia, Michoacán, 58000 52-443-317-4389 Jose Angel Montaño Morales Calle Samuel Arias #111 Fraccionamiento Forjadores de Pachuca Mineral de la Reforma, Hidalgo 42083

Jose Ramon “Moncho” Villar Av. Las Americas #1178 Fracc. Cumbres Saltillo, Coahuila 25270 52-844-415-1557

Ivan A. Aguirre Ibarra P.O. Box 304 Hermosillo, Sonora 83000 52-637-935-2804 (c) • 915/613-4282


Adrian Vega Lopez Calle Norte 80 #5913 Col. Gertrudis Sanchez, 2a. Sección Delegación Gustavo A. Madero, México, D.F. 07890

Kelly Sidoryk P.O. Box 374, Lloydminster, AB S9V 0Y4 780/875-9806 (h) 780/875-4418 (c)

Steve Hailstone “Niwajiri,” 5 Lampert Rd., Crafers, SA 5152 61-4-1882-2212;


Miguel Aguirre Camacho SAGARPA Delegación Estatal en Tlaxcala Libramiento Poniente Número 2 Colonia Unitlax, San Diego Metepec Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala 90110 52-246-465-0700

Alejandro Miranda Sanchez Calle Cerro Macuiltepec No 23 Col. Campestre Churubusco, Delegación Coyoacán México, D.F. 04200

Christine C. Jost International Livestock Research Institute Box 30709, Nairobi 00100 254-20-422-3000 254-736-715-417 (c)

Graeme Hand 150 Caroona Lane, Branxholme, VIC 3302 61-3-5578-6272 (h); 61-4-0996-4466 (c)

Elco Blanco-Madrid Hacienda de la Luz 1803 Fracc. Haciendas del Valle II, Chihuahua Chih., 31238 52-614-423-4413 (h) 52-614-107-8960 (c)

Len Pigott Box 222, Dysart, SK, SOH 1HO 306/432-4583


George Gundry Willeroo, Tarago, NSW 2580 61-2-4844-6223


September / October 2007

Silverio Rojas Villegas SAGARPA Avenida Irrigación s/n, Col. Monte de Camargo Celaya, Guanajuato, 38030 52-461-612-0305

NEW ZEALAND John King P.O. Box 12011, Beckenham, Christchurch 8242 64-3-338-5506

SOUTH AFRICA Jozua Lambrechts P.O. Box 5070, Helderberg, Somerset West, Western Cape 7135 27-21-851-5669; 27-21-851-2430 (w) Ian Mitchell-Innes P.O. Box 52, Elandslaagte 2900 27-36-421-1747 Dick Richardson P.O. Box 1853, Vryburg 8600 tel/fax: 27-082-934-6139 Colleen Todd P.O. Box 20, Bergbron 1712 27-82-335-3901 (cell)

SPAIN Aspen Edge Apartado de Correos 19, 18420 Lanjaron, Granada (0034)-958-347-053

UNITED KINGDOM Philip Bubb 32 Dart Close, St. Ives, Cambridge, PE27 3JB 44-1480-496295

ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA Gero Diekmann Ecoso Dynamics CC P.O. Box 363, Okahandja 264-62-518-091 (h) 264-612-51861 (w) 264-812-440-501 (c) Colin Nott P.O. Box 11977, Windhoek 264-61-225085 Wiebke Volkmann P.O. Box 182, Otavi 264-67-234-557 or 264-81-127-0081

Amanda Atwood 27 Rowland Square, Milton Park, Harare 263-23-233-760 Huggins Matanga Africa Centre for Holistic Management P. Bag 5950, Victoria Falls 263-13-42199 (w) 263-11-404-979 (c) Elias Ncube Africa Centre for Holistic Management P. Bag 5950, Victoria Falls 263-13-42199 (w) 263-11-214-584 (c)

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Proudly serving Holistic Management Practitioners since 1978! En Mexico: Tele y fax: 1-800-640-3156

800 527-0990 Number 115





September / October 2007

THE MARKETPLACE The Best Time to Take a Soil Sample


For best results, all pasture and hay producers should first consider that if it has been several years since samples were taken, the best time to take new soil samples is as soon as it can be correctly accomplished. We have clients who prefer to see soil nutrient levels when they are at their very worst.This is generally just after a crop is harvested, or when the greatest amount of undecomposed residue is still present. Others want to see their soil at its best, which is the time when optimum temperature and moisture are present, the maximum amount of residue decomposition has occurred, and when any plants growing there have not matured to the point that large amounts of nutrients are being removed. So once getting past any initial needs from a lack of sampling in the past, choose a time that will be convenient. Each grower should plan to take samples at the same time each year for the best comparison of fertility changes taking place in each field. All of this requires a management decision on the part of those concerned, and the other points that follow should be considered in order to make better decisions. Planning ahead to be sure the samples are taken in a timely manner for the crop, sometimes even before the present one is harvested, can make a big difference.This is particularly true if lime or materials such as micronutrients might be needed that require a longer time in the soil to best benefit the next crop, especially if there may not be sufficient time to get everything done after harvesting is completed. But before taking action, consider a few other requirements. When drought conditions persist to the point that grass will no longer grow, the soil is too dry

to sample. It will cause the pH to drop and the need for calcium and magnesium lime will appear greater than is actually the case. Also, where significant amounts of nitrogen has been spread in the last thirty days, or sulfur in the last 60-180 days, samples should not be taken for the same reasons. Anything that tends to make the soil more acidic in the short term (temporarily drops the pH) should be suspect in such cases. When sampling is properly done, the soil analysis will show which materials work best. For fertilizer recommendations on permanent pasture and hay land, only take the top four inches of soil to make up the sample. If a report on fertility deeper than that is desired, pull that as a separate subsoil sample. If soil samples are only occasionally taken it is always advisable to review the proper sampling instructions beforehand. Remember that the recommendation is only as good as the sample taken and the information you can supply for making needed fertilizer recommendations. Obtaining positive results depends on properly determining the fertility needs of the field.That job is not complete until all of the necessary information is correctly supplied on a worksheet and sent along with the soil test. Worksheets and soil sampling instructions can be obtained from our web site, or along with soil sampling bags, are available upon request from our office.

Or visit our website!

For consulting or educational services contact:

Kinsey Agricultural Services, Inc. 297 County Highway 357, Charleston, Missouri 63834 Phone: 573/683-3880; Fax: 573/683-6227, CREDIT CARD ORDERS (VISA, MC) CAN BE FAXED OR CALLED IN.

Managing Change Northwest A team of certified Holistic Management educators in Washington State who serve the Pacific Northwest, helping people on their journey toward resource sustainability.

Presenting a series of workshops: December 4-6, 2007

Creating Best Outcomes & Planning for Profit

January 15-17, 2008

Planned Grazing & Optimizing Forage

February 19-21, 2008 March 4-6, 2008

Animal Behavior & Grazing Management Putting It All Together-Managing the Whole

Follow-up with participants is planned. Eastern Washington location to be determined For more information contact:

Managing Change Northwest at 509-525-3389 or

Number 115





Kirk Gadzia Certified Educator

By World Famous Dr. Grandin Originator of Curved Ranch Corrals The wide curved Lane makes filling the crowding tub easy. 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:

GRANDIN LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS 2918 Silver Plume Dr., Unit C-3 Fort Collins, CO 80526


Kirk Gadzia has over 15 years experience conducting Holistic Management training sessions worldwide and assisting people on the land in solving real problems. With his hands-on, results-oriented approach, Kirk is uniquely qualified to help your organization achieve its goals. Introduction to Holistic Management Courses February 4-9, 2008 Albuquerque, New Mexico

Contact: Kirk Gadzia P.O. Box 1100 Bernalillo, NM 87004 Ph: 505/867-4685 Fax: 505/867-9952

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Apply What You Learn As You Learn With Our Hands On Approach, Step by Step Workbook And Personalized Mentoring. Enjoy Flexible Scheduling. Choose to Work Independently or In Small Groups. Get Started Now.

Realize Immediate Benefits Find More Details On The Web at By Phone at 970-882-4222 or e-mail us at

FREE CHOICE ENTERPRISES, LTD A Nutritional Consulting Firm

Laboratory Services Free Choice Cafeteria Mineral Program Energy Supplements SPECIALIZING IN NUTRITION FOR THE GRAZING ANIMAL AND THE LAND WHERE THEY GRAZE

Offered By Whole New Concepts, LLC


P.O. Box 218 Lewis CO 81327 USA

—— C O N T A C T ——

Cindy Dvergsten, a Holistic Management® Certified Educator, has 12 years experience in personal practice, training & facilitation of Holistic Management, and 25 years experience in resource management & agriculture. She offers customized solutions to family farms & ranches, communities and organizations worldwide.

MARK BADER, Free Choice Enterprises, LTD


September / October 2007

10055 County K Lancaster, WI 53813




The Science of Nature Over A Decade of Proven Results in Soil and Water Management Around the World, Growing Healthier, Nutrient-dense Vegetation and Higher Yields


La Inmaculada I

F YOU ARE LOOKING for bilingual (Spanish/ English) Holistic Management training and education, Rancho La Inmaculada is the place.This flourishing desert ranch, nestled in the brittle plains of Sonora, Mexico, welcomes you to the learning opportunity of a lifetime. For more than 20 years, we have transformed our resources and developed a highly productive ranch.

Come visit this living example of regenerative bio-grazing, financial, and infrastructure development.

✧ Customized Radionic (ELF Scanning) Soil and Plant Testing and Monitoring of Biology, Chemistry and Physics (Energy) ✧ Adjusting the Environment to Express the Energetic Life Force of Plants and Animals ✧ Customized In-House Manufacturing, Blending and Product Applications ✧ Athletic Fields, Sports Complexes, Golf Courses, Vineyards, Nurseries, Orchards and Gardens ✧ Balancing and Restoring Soil Through Re-Mineralization ✧ Guaranteed Results ✧ 40%-60% Water Saving Programs ✧ Commercial and Residential Turf and Landscapes ®

FOR WORKSHOP OR COURSE SCHEDULES, CONTACT: Holistic Management® Certified Educator, IVAN AGUIRRE IBARRA • 915-613-4282

Biological Inoculants & Soil Conditioners Bio/Organic Nutrients, Dry & Liquid Blends Educational Seminars – Soil & Plant Nutrition

13017-B Central SE #118 • Albuquerque, NM 87123 505.291.1100 • • Fax: 505.271.1600


LIVESTOCK 5 Bar Beef Harvesting the Deserts of the World


Holistic Management Facilitators Don & Bev Campell

Achieve success with— People—learn to differentiate

between standard of living and quality of life Land—leave a legacy, improve the land Finances—make a profit every year

* Box 817, Meadow Lake, SK S9X 1Y6 306/236-6088;


COURSES Holistic Management Courses in Montana Learn on a holistically managed ranch in Montana from South African Certified Educator Ian Mitchell-Innes! November 9-12 - Holistic Decision-Making & Financial Planning • Defining the Whole • Forming a Holistic Goal • Holistic Decision Making • Financial Planning November 17-20 Holistic Management Planned Grazing & Land Planning • Animal Behavior • Forage & Water Needs • Land Planning • Animal Impact • Herd Effect All levels of management—new or experienced—are welcome. Discounts will be given for 2 or more people from the same family and/or operation. Additional discounts will also be given to attendees under the age of 25. Participation will be limited to no more than 16 people. Contact: Zachary B. Jones of Twodot Land and Livestock Company at 406.632.4496 or

Number 115





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_ Gift Subscriptions (same prices as above). _ Special Edition: An Introduction to Holistic Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5 _ Compact Disk Version . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$14 _ Bulk subscriptions available.

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Planning and Monitoring Guides

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_Financial Planning May 2000, 44 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15

_ Back Issues: $5 each; bulk orders (5 or more issues) $3 each. List

_Aide Memoire for Grazing Planning

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_Early Warning Biological Monitoring— Croplands April 2000, 26 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$14

Books & Multimedia

_Early Warning Biological Monitoring—Rangelands and Grasslands

Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision-Making,

_ Second Edition, by Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 _ Hardcover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $55 _ 15-set CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $99 _ One month rental of CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35 _ Spanish Version (soft) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Holistic Management Handbook, by Butterfield, Bingham, Savory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ At Home With Holistic Management, by Ann Adams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20 _ Holistic Management: A New Environmental Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10 _ Improving Whole Farm Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10 _ Video: Creating a Sustainable Civilization—

January 1999, 32 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$14

_Land Planning—For The Rancher or Farmer Running Livestock January 1999, 36 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

Planning Forms (All forms are padded - 25 sheets per pad)

_Annual Income & Expense Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 7 _Livestock Production Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _Control Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 5 _Grazing Plan & Control Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15

An Introduction to Holistic Decision-Making, based on a lecture given by Allan Savory. (VHS/DVD/PAL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $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 (VHS/DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 TO ORDER

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healthy land. sustainable future. a publication of Holistic Management International 1010 Tijeras NW Albuquerque, NM 87102 USA

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#115, In Practice, Sept/Oct 2007  
#115, In Practice, Sept/Oct 2007