Can Cows Save the Planet? I Don’t Know – But Maybe They Can Save the Ranch

Can cows save the planet? Can cows reverse global warming? Can cows sequester carbon and prevent erosion and fix habitat problems? Can cows feed the world? Honestly, I just don’t know. These are big, complicated questions that seem to depend on a whole bunch of variables, things beyond my ability to suss out. Some Simple Questions for Graziers All of that aside, there are some things I am much more confident about. I believe in the power of rumination. More accurately, I believe in the power of the rumen. I believe in the beautiful simplicity of an agricultural system that involves properly selected cattle living happily on properly-managed land. I believe that people can live successfully on their modern homesteads if they have their economic and ecological houses in order. I believe ranchers can be successful. Mostly, I believe in grazing: properly planned, well-managed grazing. I frequently have the opportunity to visit ranches and chat about the things that ranchers love to talk about: cattle, land, business, grass. Often, these conversations lead to really hard questions about what issues are preventing ranchers from being more successful. For me, the most obvious and critical issues to look at often involve the degree of expertise in grazing management, or perhaps the degree to which managers focus on proper grazing management. Proper grazing is a huge and complicated topic, but over time I have boiled things down to a few rather simple questions, question

All the grazing management tips you need

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2 thoughts on “Can Cows Save the Planet? I Don’t Know – But Maybe They Can Save the Ranch

  1. This is pure gold! Thank you! Love your writing style and the info is solid and easy to follow. One thing I found missing is that you don’t give a rule-of-thumb goal for rest periods except to increase them. After thinking about it, I realized that you can’t really do that because your audience lives in such diverse climates.

    Kudos on the great article!

    Kirsten

    1. Thanks for your kind words and support, Kirsten. Regarding the length of rest periods, you are correct: it depends on climate. But more importantly, it depends on season. A general rule is that the faster the grass is growing, the faster the rotation, and therefore, the shorter the rest period. In my case, when my grass is growing at warp speed, I’m looking for about 30 days of rest, as I am purposely trying to retard grass maturity. Right now, it’s more like ninety days, with my recently-grazed paddocks looking forward to 180 days of rest during the winter.

      As with most things in life, rest is more complicated than it looks.

      Sincerely,

      John

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