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Twenty years of grazing profitably, inside and outside the box

By   /  March 17, 2014  /  3 Comments

Ron Holter is one of the smartest farmers you could meet. He thinks things through to create the life he wants. Now his dairy cows eat no grain, aren’t high producing, and he has time to take a nap just about every day. Here’s how he makes a good living in spite of (or because of) all this.

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The Holter Family Holterholm Farms has been in the Holter family since 1889. Now owned and operated
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About the author

Author and editor emeritus

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.


  1. Kristin says:

    Great article! The info on mob stocking the Jerseys is invaluable.

    I would be very interested in what, if any, grass based Jersey semen Mr. Holter may have used. Or did he just select for performance from his own herd? I wonder if other dairy breeds would do better with the tall grass grazing?

    Another thought I’ve had, what about pros & cons on grazing deep rooted perennials vs. annuals (thinking 12 Aprils Dairy here) and there effects on nutrient density of milk, protein & fat numbers, cheese yield, etc.? Just loading you up with other article ideas…..as if you need more.

    • Ron Holter says:


      We switched to New Zealand Jersey semen in the late 90’s and used it for several years. We found the cows getting narrower in the front end and didn’t like that. We have used polled bulls from a small group out of Ohio (the Northcoast Group) that stresses longevity and some grazing characteristics. We are now using mostly our own bulls but still some from Northcoast.
      I would think that breeds that carry more flesh might do better with the mature grass mob grazing.

  2. Troy Bishopp says:

    You Rock Mr. Holter

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