It is true that I have been influenced by Savory. I met him in New Zealand
and I think his book is very important because he challenges scientific
prejudices about land management and grazing. (prejudices of scientists that
everyone else thinks are based on "science" and that justify doing things
like giving your animals hormones, applying urea to the soil or spraying
highly toxic chemicals). It would be good to discuss issues relatng to HRM
on Sanet. However there are CHRM lists you can get on. I lurked for a while
on one but its very in-house. Also Sanet has posted info on graze-L and
other grazing internet resources where some of these things are discussed.
Savory is right to put the emphasis on holistic thinking and planning.
Einstein said that it is charactersitic of our age that we are very
sophisticated about means but very confused about goals. Management
intensive grazing can work very well but is has an equal potential for
wreaking havoc. Basically, managing grazing so as to increase the energy
flow through the grass component of the ecosystem is achieved by timing the
grazing to the growth phase of the grass plant. It is possible to increase
energy flow from sun to grass to animal on the order of 5 times. It also
appears that very high stocking densities over short periods of time between
relatively long periods of rest have a beneficial effect on pasture soils
and tend to encourage natural grass and legume diversity. All this requires
ranchers to pay careful attention to what they are doing. Poorly attempted
intensive grazing can destroy pastures, herds and the ranch!
I have not been able to afford to take a HRM planning course though I would
like to do that sometime. Its probably worth the price but most of us just
don't have it. So I would like to share another resource with you which is
my favorite US Ag Rag, "The Stockman Grass Farmer, the Grazier's Edge".
This is put out by Allan Nations and friends in Jackson, Mississippi. A
careful read through any issue of this bulletin is worth as much as an HRM
seminar and only costs $5. Apart from articles on all aspects of grazing
systems all over the continent and beyond, you find ads for electric fencing
systems and the whole New Zealand style grazing technology, solar irrigation
and stock watering systems, as well as for other not so things like Revalor
and Rumensin. Their classified section is wonderful, called "The Stockman
Directory" has sources for stock (goats, sheep, exotic breeds of cattle &
others), seeds, free choice minerals, grazing consultants, books, videos and
many other things. They organize a North American Grazing Conference every
A tidbit from the Nov issue: "It is way too easy to get so caught up in
doing manual labor that you forget your primary job as a rancher is to
think" John Ravescroft, Nenzel, Nebraska.
Nothing in The Grass Farmer would ever lead you to suspect that internet
existed, but their address is :
The Stockman Grass Farmer
P.O. Box 9607
Jackson, MS 39286-4349
Phone: 601/681-4805 FAX -8558.
One further comment on composting: Ann Clark's results are interesting.
Organic farmers have developed a no nonsense attitude about compost. I
remember hearing about farmers in Nebraska who speeded up the composting
process by turning the windrows with the plow (thus the dimensions, etc.).
In fact it was about the only thing they ever used the plow for anymore, I
Holistic thinking means that we have to think in terms of wholes, sets of
parts that interact so that they are greater than their mere sum. Farms
don't work the way they do because of the technology they use or because of
how they structure their record keeping. Farms express the culture and
values of the farming community including their politics, religion, family
values and personal prejudices, problems and aspirations. To fixate on
technology was the mistake of green revolution and it is very definitely not
the road to sustainability.
Tel & FAX 529/678-7215