Blog


Dutch rewilding experiment missing a vital component… By Georgia Wingfield-Hayes. I visited the Oostvaardersplassen as part of a ‘rewilding’ study trip, in October last year. This vast reserve is mainly marsh, the area open to public being tiny in relation to its entirety. We walk out from the visitors centre to a beautiful big hide from where one can view a vast grassland plain. We were excited to learn that in 2006 the sea eagle,...

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Trees and pasture productivity are rarely discussed in the same conversation, but farmers who think of trees as either shading out grass growth or taking away valuable grazing land are missing out on vital pasture productivity potential. The last couple of decades in farming has been led by the ‘green revolution’ and solutions that are sold in big white bags or plastic drums. As a Farm advisor working with leading soil scientists and...

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It seems to be generally accepted that an area of land is of a fairly set productive value. The thinking is that yields can only be increased by the addition of fertilisers or reseeding with more ‘productive’ grasses, otherwise the only way to increase livestock numbers – and therefore profits – is to buy or rent more land. Conservationists are focused on reducing stocking rates to increase biodiversity....

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There is a common misconception in the farming world that’s harming your profits and potentially your future. We’re led to believe – in increasingly clever and technical ways – that we need fertilisers in order to increase the productivity of pasture or meadow. But just as humans aren’t ‘statin deficient’ when they have a heart attack; grasslands aren’t ‘fertiliser deficient’ if their performance is poor. How to...

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I don’t know many livestock farmers who wouldn’t want to increase the amount of grass they can grow and reduce their input costs. But so often the recommended mainstream methods of increasing pasture productivity are leading us down a money dwindling one-way street. I was recently reading about some research conducted by Simon Fraser University in Brittish Columbia of farms in Alberta growing oilseed rape. They compared...

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Water in Plain Sight I read much of this book while sitting under a gorgeous acacia tree in Maasai land, Kenya. The temperature under the tree was pleasant and it protected my lily white December skin from blistering in the harsh sun that was beating down. This accentuated the point made very clearly in Water in plain sight; we need trees to live successfully on planet earth. We were in Kenya to visit Dalmas Tiampati to better...

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Overgrazing Farmers are accused of it, the biodiversity of the British uplands have been damaged by it for sure, but it’s also happening on conservation land grazed by only a tiny number of wild deer so what’s the deal here? The first misconception I would like to address is: that land is not overgrazed; plants are. If a field grows ten species of grass plant and a herbivore grazer takes a liking to that plant, that plant will...

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It seems like every time it rains for more than a few hours in the Lake District we are seeing roads flooded and standing water in pastures and meadows. So what’s the real cause of flooding? We’ve always had floods but never have we seen such disruption from relatively ‘normal’ amounts of heavy rain. For a landscape to be flood and drought resistant, rain must be absorbed slowly into the various layers of the...

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Are your pastures increasing in moss and rush? As I have been walking around the pastures and meadows in the Lake District where I live, I’ve been astonished by how prevalent moss and rush is becoming in fields that were once dominated by grasses. I’d like to throw around a few ideas about why this is happening. First, you must understand what a grass plant needs to be healthy and thrive. For a species or several species...

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What is Holistic Planned Grazing? Holistic Planned Grazing is a planning process for dealing simply with the great complexity livestock managers face daily in integrating livestock production with crop, wildlife and forest production while working to ensure continued land regeneration, animal health and welfare, and profitability. Savory Global Of all the Holistic management tools the three actions of living organisms; grazing, animal...

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