Holistic management is a process of decision-making and planning that gives people the insights and management tools needed to work with nature; resulting in better, more informed decisions that balance economic, social and environmental considerations.
In the context of the ecological restoration of grasslands, managers implement Holistic Planned Grazing to properly manage livestock — mimicking the predator/prey relationships in which these environments evolved.
Those applying holistic management in the UK can expect to improve long-term profitability or financial resilience; experience enhanced performance of the habitat, land, animals or operation; experience better social relationships, and improve soil health and ecosystems.
DEFRA estimates soil degradation costs England and Wales £1.2 billion annually.
Soil degradation affects everyone who produces or consumes food and fibre.
Although Holistic Management was developed in arid areas of the world it has proved incredibly beneficial in the more forgiving ‘non-brittle’ environments of the world such as the UK. Our land may still grow grass, but soil degradation and a gradual loss of profits are making UK farmers heavily reliant on subsidies for survival.
We are particularly interested in refining the application of holistic management in the UK to fit our strong cultural farming heritage, diverse habitats, varying landscape and many microclimates.
Holistic Management in the UK offers hope that there is a way of managing land and livestock that can sustainably support farming families into the future whilst increasing biodiversity and providing health food for the nation.
The ‘non-brittle’ areas of the world are going to become under ever increasing pressure to feed much of the population as large areas of the world’s grasslands turn to desert. It is imperative that in the UK we understand learn how to farm fully functional ecosystems. We’re in a good position to promote the knowledge and application to the parts of the world that need it most. If our land’s going to be able to stand up to increased pressure to produce food and fluctuations in climate then we must create the most resilient, robust farmland possible. Holistic management can help us with this challenge.
We can offer a range of services related to Holistic Management;
Farm Health Check – 1 day
£145 plus travel expenses and VAT.
This is a one-day assessment where we take a walk on your land and assess the ecosystem processes in relation to what you want to achieve on your holding. It’s a great way to get introduced to the main concepts of regenerative/holistic land management.
We’ll also take a high-level look at your enterprise and run a few scenarios to test how different management options may better serve you and your business.
Whole Enterprise Planning
This is where as we work together to work through one or all of the elements of the framework of holistic management. All clients will be given access to the ‘roots portal’ a private area of the website where your reports and learning documents are shared and we can discuss decisions etc.
Sessions will typically be broken down into the following depending on the size and complexity of your operation:
- Holistic Context Day – A worksheet is sent in advance to collect information and prepare. We then discuss and gather information to form your ‘holistic context’ or goal; your aims and desires for the holding and your lifestyle within it now and into the future. You’ll learn the basics of making your decisions ‘within context’ and receive guidance notes and documents to help.
- Holistic Financial Planning – 2 to 3 days. We start with a brainstorming session and analysis of your current enterprises and check them against your context. We’ll consider which enterprises best cover your overheads whilst spreading your risk and look at your enterprise ‘log jams’, adverse factors and identify your operations weak links. We will plan your required profit and then categorise and allocate your expenses based on addressing the identified issues. We will plan your cash flow and consider the best application of profits then bring the whole plan together in a useful document that you’ll update as the year unfolds.
- Holistic Planned Grazing – 1-5 days. You will be given some ‘pre-planning’ homework which involves gathering information together for our session. We’ll consider how many grazing units and ‘herds’ you wish to create and estimate your potential stocking rate. We’ll estimate your forage availability and look at other factors such as hay making, seasonal livestock management issues, subsidy/grant management prescriptions, poisonous plants, breeding birds, wildflower seeding and forage requirements of wildlife etc. We’ll complete your grazing chart with the focus on optimising recovery and grazing periods to maximise production and land health; maintaining and increasing the plain of nutrition as required; and minimising the potential for disease or illness of livestock, all within the overall scope of your holistic context.
- Holistic Land Planning – 1-5 days. Usually, this part of the process comes after you have gained experience of managing holistically and you have a good understanding of the potential for your holding.
- Ecological Monitoring – 1-5 days. We can help you with or undertake the basic or comprehensive ecological monitoring that is required to plot your progress and give early warning of things not going to plan.