Wahl Family Farm Part 3 – What’s the Pay Off For Changes in Grazing Management

This is the third in a series about the grazing management changes the Wahl family has made and how it has improved soil health and increased animal productivity dramatically. (Here's Part 1, and here's Part 2.) It's drawn from an article by Robert Hathorne with photos by Tracy Robillard, both of the Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service. I've added the videos they made and suggestions for how you can translate the principles the Wahl's are using to your own operation. Does It All Pay Off? It’s the combined approach of high quality, diverse forage and a “mob grazing” management system that are yielding dividends for the Wahls. The two practices work in tandem for a common goal - soil health. When animals graze, they consume nutrients taken up by the plant from the soil. As you know, in order to regrow, plants need more nutrients. When we ask plants to regrow more than what they can based on available soil has nutrients, soils become depleted and plants wither. For most ranches, the solution to this problem is fertilizer. But the Wahls have skipped their last six fertilizer applications. “We’ve gone two full years without fertilizer. We’re not short of feed, we’re running more sheep and they’re healthier,” Pete says. Will that always be the case? Pete doesn't know for sure, so he's paying attention to what he sees happening on the ground and will make changes when and if necessary. If that makes you skeptical, well Pete shares that feeli

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