Holistic planned grazing is a management strategy for livestock production that seeks to mimic the patterns of wild grazing herds in order to improve the health of both the animals and the land.
The approach involves rotating herds to different paddocks on a planned basis to allow for adequate recovery of vegetation, while also distributing the animals' impact to improve soil fertility and reduce the risk of erosion. The goal is to create a symbiotic relationship between livestock and the land, where both benefit from the grazing and the animals play a role in regenerating the ecosystem.
Farmers using holistic planned grazing typically follow a set of principles and practices to manage their herds and improve the health of their land.
Rotational grazing: Cattle are divided into herds and moved to different paddocks or areas of the farm on a planned basis, allowing for adequate recovery of vegetation. This helps to distribute the impact of grazing, reduce overgrazing, and improve soil health.
Diversity of forage: Farmers strive to provide a diverse range of forages for their cattle, including grasses, legumes, and forbs, to promote nutrient-dense feed and support a healthy gut microbiome in the cattle.
Management of grazing intensity: Farmers carefully monitor the intensity of grazing and adjust the herd size and grazing duration to prevent overgrazing and maintain plant vigor.
Monitoring and assessment: Farmers regularly assess the health of their pastures and animals, and make adjustments to their grazing plan as needed to promote soil health and plant diversity as well as thriving animals.
Integration with other farm activities: Holistic planned grazing is often integrated with other farm activities, such as cover cropping and agroforestry, to promote a more diverse and resilient farm ecosystem.
These practices are often used in conjunction with other regenerative farming techniques, such as composting and reduced tillage, to promote soil health and biodiversity. The specific implementation of holistic planned grazing will depend on the farm's location, soil type, climate, and other factors, but the goal is always to promote a self-sustaining and regenerative farming system. Click here to read more about regenerative farming practices and how we implement them at Lúnasa Farm.