“Ultimately, the only wealth that can sustain any community, economy or nation is derived from the photosynthetic process – green plants growing on regenerating soil.”Allan Savory
With ten days of sunshine and temperatures in the 50s we are beginning to see shy little blushes of green on the southern slopes and under heavy standing forage. . .
Many of you have expressed interest in the portion of the Open Gate herd that is managed under High Intensity Rotational Grazing. There are plenty of myths and misconceptions that accompany the concept, so we thought we would walk you through a full year and even answer questions as we go. I will add to this post, and re-position it at the top whenever there is new content so that you can join us on the rounds!
Mid-March (Worm Moon)
Late April (Egg Moon)
Called the Egg Moon in Northern European agricultural tradition because the soil is beginning to awaken and many soil dwelling critters along with it: I am seeing beetles, centipedes, ants and lots of worm activity, all of which makes an excellent stimulus for the poultry and other avian species to begin accelerated laying and nesting . . . signs of the soil warming to active levels.
So April is the month I take walk-about. It is an excellent time to survey every paddock and pasture, review my notes about the previous year’s grazing cycle, and survey what is happening. So many things affect the start-up of my forages that I need to be mindful from year to year of the impacts of previous decisions or challenges in order to learn from my mistakes, and also harness the successes.
Many of the observations I make on the pasture tours are simple common sense – but by taking the time to inventory what I see, and ask myself some key questions, a logical plan soon comes together.
- site situation (south slope? better soil? better irrigation? more snow catch?)
- management decisions (overgrazed? undergrazed? rest periods too short?)
- improvement opportunity (poor plant population? monospecies? too far from water? fencing issues?)
- what are this paddock’s strengths? weaknesses? am I missing an opportunity to think outside the box?
Take some time, over a couple of evenings, to sketch out a simple map of all your pastures, including the notes made on your tour, and you will be well positioned to draft a very sensible plan for beginning rotation. 🤓
“Not making a choice IS a choice and not making a decision IS making a decision.”Jim Gerrish