Science & Medicine:Natural Sciences
Getting Free Land by Building Pasture - More Grass Means More Animals - Part 1 (GFL27)
When you have an animal that eats grass, then you as a farmer have a big advantage.
Grass is free. You don't have to buy it, and depending on where you live you might not have to water it.
So your input costs on your end product, are low.
But not all grass is created equal. If you don't have a lot of grass or grass year round, then you might find yourself in a situation where you need to purchase hay, which drives input costs up.
It's in your interest to have the healthiest most productive pastures as possible. As a farmer, you are both a manager of the animals and the grass to help avoid this problem.
It's practices like mob grazing that lead to improved soils which can sustain more life, for longer.
Poor practices can lead to the degradation of land, and conversely good practices can lead to a dramatic improvement in the land, soil, and pasture.
And improvements can be truly dramatic.
Take someone like Greg Judy for example. Greg grazes using planned high density grazing. Putting a lot of animal weight on a small piece of land for a short period of time.
Since adopting that system his grazing ratio has changed from 4.5 acres per animal unit (AU=1,000 lb.) to 2.2 acres per AU and forage production has doubled. Judy is using the extra forage to expand his cow herd for a grass-fed beef business, and he has added 300 head of hair sheep. Judy manages the livestock on 900 acres (300 acres owned and 600 acres leased.) “This reduction in grazing acres per AU is like having another 600-acre farm, and we don’t even have to pay additional land taxes. In our area, 600 acres is worth $1.8 million,” Judy says.
More grass, means more animals, and no extra land needed.
As Greg said, it's like getting another farm for free.
It's all about building soil and that's the focus of today's episode, the first in a multi-part episode series on building pasture.
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