Untoward Acceleration – the Greatest Danger to Graziers

Back in 1959, French Agronomist and rotational grazing visionary, André Voisin, warned farmers in his book, Grass Productivity, that “untoward acceleration” was the greatest danger to rational grazing practitioners. You would think someone who has read one of the bibles of grazing management wouldn’t go down that laneway. It seems my complacency and optimism that it would rain, overshadowed the fact that I was about to hit the proverbial wall. Running into walls usually hurts. Untoward acceleration is a description of what happens when paddocks are not rested long enough between grazings. Each subsequent grazing of the paddock provides less forage and the regrowth period gets shorter throughout the grazing season until most of the plants are overgrazed and there is little or no feed left. This is bad for soil health, plants, animals, water infiltration and your wallet. Voisin rightly said, “The grazier blames the summer for his failure but should blame himself.” In the bowels of grazing management, no one wants to admit they are heading towards an unsustainable future, least of all the grass whispering hypocrite. I’m good with taking the blame. They say if you make mistakes, you’ll learn more. I should be a genius by now! It is apparent from my travels there are many of you who have already wrecked or are approaching

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7 thoughts on “Untoward Acceleration – the Greatest Danger to Graziers

  1. Hi Troy,
    “Grass Productivity” is a must read!
    To help monitor grass growth walk your farm through every paddock
    same time every week and assess the amount. Put it on a graph and
    this will help predict 2 to 3 weeks in advance what is going to happen. Over the years as you get more lines you will be in the
    driver’s seat! Add changes of stock numbers, types and crops.
    Graze on,
    Alan D. Henning
    Madison, Wisconsin

  2. Lol yup i made this exact mistake this year!😣and im now watching this overgrazed paddock grow back ever so slowly while my other paddocks “not overgrazed”grasses are literaly jumping out of the ground. Thank goodness mother nature is forgiving! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  3. Troy,
    Great article. It is really easy to fall into that trap. Sometimes our self-esteem has to take a big whack to bring us back to reality. The reality is weather changes, grass growth changes, recovery periods change and we need to change along with them. Keep up the good work.

  4. Troy, it is always nice to hear from your experiences and I m very glad you are bringing the wisdom of Voisin’s concepts!

  5. Troy referenced Andre Voison’s book ‘Grass Productivity’ in this article. I consider that book to be the most significant writing on grazing management of the 20th Century. I had the privilege of reading it in 1978 when I started grad school. It helped shape my view of everything pastoral.

    There is a link to a place to buy that book at the top of the article. I encourage every serious grazier who has not read Voison, to buy a copy. Read it and then periodically reread chapters as needed.

    No, that is not a link to our AGLS bookstore.

    1. Agree completely, Jim! Voisin’s work also extended into soil minerals and he even related it to aspects of animal and human health!

      And, while his wisdom is alive and thriving in Latin America, he has been sadly forgotten in Europe (He is not even amongst the most notable persons in France!)

      Cheers, Juan!

      1. There is a copy of Voison’s ‘Soil, Grass, & Cancer’ on my desk to be part of my winter reading. That work was published in 1959.
        While he was on the right track 50+ years ago, I gather from other sources that a lot of his theories on the connection of soil health to human health may not have been particularly accurate. I will look forward to reading what he did have to say on that topic.

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