Tuesday, July 7, 2015


The experiment continues….

Last year, inspired by Alan Savory's TED talk in 2013,  I attended a grazing clinic in Boulder. Okay… you who know me can stop laughing now… I know I know … a "glazing" clinic you could believe but this was a *grazing* clinic.

So, in May 2014  thanks to Strang Ranch there were cows on the ranch ...

41 "sets" of heifers and babies to be exact. 
Yes, that's the Pulik barking ….

This year we repeated the experiment with 81 heifers, calves and yearlings … and one rather impressive bull…. 

who seemed to like his lone bull status very much….

What is the benefit of cows on a "ranch"? 

We've had an exceptional year for rain this is the gauge since May 1, 2015… in 2013 there was 6" for the entire year including snowmelt. The trick is to keep the moisture in the soil instead of it all running off and that is what mob grazing helps you do- keep the water in the soil and improve soil health.

Here's what I learned at the grazing clinic….

1. Their cloven hooves break up the hard pan and make divits where rain can soak into the soil instead of running off.

See those little puddles? Those are hoof prints.

2. They break up the old gray dead grasses and allow air and water to get to the soil.

Behind the fence there were no cows- in front of the fence- cows. 
See the dead grass around the ungrazed area?

3. They leave behind free fertilizer (which the potatoes loooooove). A friend tells me she is paying for cow patties… obviously I need to explore this possible new revenue angle….

4. They're a great fire mitigation crew- mowing the grass down to a manageable height.

5. They stimulate new grass growth- as long as the grazing period is brief and the rest period is long enough for a full growing cycle in the grasses. 

compare the ungrazed area new growth grasses (green bits)
to the grazed area new growth grasses (green bits- with my shoe as a reference size)

Conclusion: the moo babies can come back and knock on the front door every spring.

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