Orchestrating Diversified Livestock

On old MacDonald’s Farm, there were all types of animals—here a moo, there an oink and over there a cluck, cluck—but managing multiple species and the pastures that support them in a forage-based environment is more akin to a complex symphony with you, the farmer, as the conductor. Regardless of the players (aka: species), there are five major sections of a diversified farm that must be well managed for success. While multiple forage systems are the foundation to any pasture-centric operation, the key to diversified livestock production is infrastructure overlap. By this I mean that capital investments such as fencing , housing, water and handling systems pertain to more than a single species. Forage Not all plants are created equal. What may be considered highly nutritious, pristine forage for one species may not provide adequate feed for another. Similarly, the woodlot full of dense undergrowth of invasive plants may be a highly coveted feedstock for a farmer willing to look beyond traditional forages. Furthermore, not all forages are plant-based. Consider a fetid cow pie covered in bugs. While herbivores will give a wide berth to one when grazing, that same pile of poo is a veritable smorgasbord for poultry and pigs making it every bit a source of forage as a stand of grass or legumes and is equally manageable to gain the most amount of nutrients. Fencing [caption id="attac

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4 thoughts on “Orchestrating Diversified Livestock

  1. I enjoyed your article. My sister and I raise cattle and sheep on our family farm in Louisiana. I would like to know more about the portable handling equipment since one of our weak points is lack of handling equipment. Everything costs money and so far a headgate hasn’t been at the top of the priority list, even though we could certainly use one. Another article, please?

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