Livestock are a tool that the land manager uses to either increase or decrease the ecological health of their landscape

Why is there so much controversy when it comes to grazing systems? What’s the fuss about? Emotions seem to run high when graziers experience good or bad results, and cell grazing seems often to be at the centre of it all.

What are the landscape, profit and lifestyle goals?

  • How much organic material both above and below the soil needs to be deposited?
  • What level of animal performance is required, both now and in the future?
  • What animal behaviours are being observed and how should we respond to these?
  • How does the plan fit with scheduled animal husbandry requirements?
  • How many paddocks are in the cell?
  • What are the labour restraints and how can they be overcome?
  • Are there infrastructure limitations and how can these be removed?
  • Soil and surface moisture?
  • What are the future/past cropping requirements?
  • Is temperature and day length increasing or decreasing?
  • What is the availability of drinking water for stock?
  • How does the grazing plan fit in with the landscape hydrology and stream riparian management?

The land manager needs to know how to integrate all of these variables and more into their grazing plan and at the same time run an enterprise that is both profitable and ecologically sustainable. Emotions run wild when land managers have either excellent results or poor results. In both cases the underlying factor is the amount of attention that is paid to management. The paradigm shift that land managers face when they use cell grazing systems is the fact they need to manage the rest period first and the graze period second.

 

Ref: What’s in the name – grazing systems. Edited version
By Richard Groom who is a director of Principle Focus www.principlefocus.com.au