The Art and Science of Grazing

How Grass Farmers Can Create Sustainable Systems for Healthy Animals and Farm Ecosystems

Author: Sarah Flack

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603586113

Category: Grazing

Page: 240

View: 4137

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Grazing management might seem simple: just put livestock in a pasture and let them eat their fill. However, as Sarah Flack explains in The Art and Science of Grazing, the pasture/livestock relationship is incredibly complex. If a farmer doesn’t pay close attention to how the animals are grazing, the resulting poorly managed grazing system can be harmful to the health of the livestock, pasture plants, and soils. Well-managed pastures can instead create healthier animals, a diverse and resilient pasture ecosystem, and other benefits. Flack delves deeply below the surface of “let the cows eat grass,” demonstrating that grazing management is a sophisticated science that requires mastery of plant and animal physiology, animal behavior, and ecology. She also shows readers that applying grazing management science on a working farm is an art form that calls on grass farmers to be careful observers, excellent planners and record-keepers, skillful interpreters of their observations, and creative troubleshooters. The Art and Science of Grazing will allow farmers to gain a solid understanding of the key principles of grazing management so they can both design and manage successful grazing systems. The book’s unique approach presents information first from the perspective of pasture plants, and then from the livestock perspective—helping farmers understand both plant and animal needs before setting up a grazing system. This book is an essential guide for ruminant farmers who want to be able to create grazing systems that meet the needs of their livestock, pasture plants, soils, and the larger ecosystem. The book discusses all the practical details that are critical for sustained success: how to set up a new system or improve existing systems; acreage calculations; paddock layout; fence and drinking water access; lanes and other grazing infrastructure; managing livestock movement and flow; soil fertility; seeding and reseeding pastures; and more. The author includes descriptions of real grazing systems working well on dairy, beef, goat, and sheep farms in different regions of North America. The book covers pasture requirements specific to organic farming, but will be of use to both organic and non-organic farms.
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The Independent Farmstead

Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient-Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management

Author: Beth Dougherty,Shawn Dougherty

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603586229

Category: Organic farming

Page: 336

View: 6734

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With in-depth information on electric fencing, watering, and husbandry for ruminants, poultry, and pigs, plus butchering, dairying, and more If we work hard, we sleep well. Twenty years ago, when authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased the land they would come to name the Sow s Ear, the state of Ohio designated it not suitable for agriculture. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food. Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture management. Pioneered by such luminaries as Allan Savory, Greg Judy, and Joel Salatin, the tenets of holistic grazing employed mostly by larger-scale commercial operations have been adapted by the Doughertys to fit their family s needs. In The Independent Farmstead, The Sow s Ear model for regenerating the land and growing food the best you ever tasted is elucidated for others to use and build upon. In witty and welcoming style, The Independent Farmstead covers everything from choosing a species of ruminant and incorporating it into a grass-based system to innovative electric fencing and watering systems, to what to do with all of the milk, meat, and, yes, manure that the self-sustaining farm produces. Within these pages, the Doughertys discuss how to: Find and improve poor, waste, or abused land and develop its natural water resources; Select and purchase the appropriate ruminant for regenerating your farmstead; Apply fencing strategies and pasture management basics; Implement basic, uncomplicated food processing, including large and small animal butchering and cheese making; and Integrate grass, gardens, and livestock to minimize or eliminate the need for off-farm inputs. As the Doughertys write, more and more people today are feeling the desire for clean, affordable food, unmodified, unprocessed, and unmedicated and the security of local food sourcing for ourselves and our children. The Independent Farmstead is a must-have resource for those who count themselves as part of this movement: both new and prospective farmers and homesteaders, and those who are interested in switching to grass-based systems. Best of all it s the kind of rare how-to book that the authors themselves view not as a compendium of one-size-fits-all instructions but as the beginning of a conversation, one that is utterly informative, sincere, and inspiring. "
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Silvopasture

A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem

Author: Steve Gabriel

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603587314

Category: Silvopastoral systems

Page: 320

View: 794

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A system for regenerating land, storing carbon, and creating climate resilience The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events. Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn't be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation. In this book, farmer Steve Gabriel offers examples of diverse current systems that include: A black locust plantation for fence posts coupled with summer grazing pastures for cattle in central New York; Oxen and pigs used to clear forested land in New Hampshire to create space for new market gardens and orchards; Turkeys used for controlling pests and fertilization on a cider orchard and asparagus farm in New York; and Sheep that graze the understory of hybrid chestnut and hickory trees at a nut nursery in Minnesota. All of these examples share common goals, components, and philosophies. The systems may take several years to establish, but the long-term benefits include healthier animals and soils, greater yields, and the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon better than forests or grasslands alone. For all these reasons and more, Silvopasture offers farmers an innovative and ecological alternative to conventional grazing practice.
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Holistic Goat Care

A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Healthy Animals, Preventing Common Ailments, and Troubleshooting Problems

Author: Gianaclis Caldwell

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 160358630X

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 6087

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Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries; indeed, they bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter to carrying packs and clearing brush, there isn't much that goats cannot do. Managing goats successfully requires an understanding of how nature designed them to thrive, including nutritional and psychological needs, as well as how to identify a problem and intercede before it's too late. For more than a decade, Gianaclis Caldwell and her family have operated Pholia Farm Creamery, an off-grid, raw milk goat cheese dairy. In Holistic Goat Care, Caldwell offers readers a comprehensive guide to maintaining a healthy herd of goats, whether they are dairy goats, meat goats, fiber goats, or pet goats. Holistic Goat Care will empower even novice goat owners to confidently diagnose and treat most of the ailments that goats might experience. For the experienced goat farmer, the book offers a depth of insight and approaches to treatment not found in any other book. Caldwell places special emphasis throughout on holistic, natural, and alternative approaches to caring for goats, including information on: Handling and managing goats using their natural instincts as an asset Developing good farm management practices such as appropriate housing and fencing systems and manure and mortality management Making feeding decisions based on understanding goats' ruminant digestive system and their evolutionary needs Growing forage and garden crops as feed and utilizing wild browse Troubleshooting health problems based on assessing symptoms Implementing advanced health procedures such as pain control, fecal testing, and transplanting rumen microbes from healthy to sick goats Diagnosing, treating, and preventing more than 75 common goat ailments Whether your herd is two or two hundred, this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive book will help you keep your goats healthy, safe, and productive and give you a deep and enjoyable insight into the wondrous creature that is the goat.
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Happy Pigs Taste Better

A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production

Author: Alice Percy

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603587926

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 272

View: 9489

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What does it take to raise a happy pig? Armed with experience from running the largest organic hog operation in Maine, author Alice Percy is well equipped to answer this question. Pigs are much closer to their cousin, the wild boar, than other domesticated animals. Ethically managing pigs requires an understanding of their natural mannerisms, including factors such as social grouping, mating, territory, housing, and, of course, their love of wallowing in the mud. In Happy Pigs Taste Better Percy offers a comprehensive look at raising organic, pasture-fed, gourmet meat. She advises readers on pasturing and feeding hogs organically, as well as managing the breeding herd and administering effective natural healthcare. In addition, she provides an overview of marketing and distribution for those looking to turn their hog farming operation into a lucrative business. This book is the first of its kind to offer an in-depth approach to organic, high-welfare commercial production, including information on: - Designing a hog business from the ground up - Housing pigs, including benefits and drawbacks of various housing systems - Evaluating the nutritional content of common organic feedstuffs - Butchering humanely and economically - Recordkeeping, with templates for financial tracking Whether you’re looking to convert a conventional operation to organic, grow your backyard hog operation into a viable business, or start from scratch, this comprehensive book has got you covered, nose to tail.
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