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Jim Gerrish Talks “What Really Matters in Grazing Management”

In this 15:39 video, Jim Gerrish breaks grazing down to the very basics to help us focus on the principles behind what we do, no matter the environment we live and work.

Starting With Four Basic Ingredients

We all work with the same four ingredients:

• CO2
• Solar energy
• Water
• Soil minerals

Our job is to manage what we can to make the process of turning those four ingredients into meat, milk and fiber. We have no control over the CO2 or the amount of sunshine we get. But we can manage how effectively we capture solar energy and water, and how we make soil minerals available to plants.

If you look at land like Jim does, you’ll see that for every acre you manage you have 43,650 square feet of solar panel and water catchment. Decisions we make every day determine how effective the solar panel is and the success of the water cycle.

“When you start thinking about the leaf cover, the ground cover that’s out there in terms of square feet, square inches, it changes how you view the world,” says Jim. “Our primary business is capturing solar energy and turning it into some kind of saleable product. So every time you go out there in the pasture you should be thinking, ‘How effectively am I capturing solar energy? How good is my solar panel?'”

Time Management

As a grazier, one of the key things you’re managing is time. As Jim says, time matters – the time that the plants are exposed to grazing, the time that animals are allowed to graze, and the time it takes for the plant to grow 3 or 5 more leaves. “Time is a very essential part of grazing management,” says Jim. “When you bring time control into your management, that’s what radically changes almost everything about the pasture and livestock business.”

Jim goes on in the video to describe the different names we’ve given to time management, like mob grazing, high-intensity, short duration grazing, ultra-high stock density grazing and more. Each of these is a way of managing time so Jim uses the term “Management-intensive grazing” to denote that we are changing what we do to get the result we need.

You can listen to Jim talk more about these concepts in the video below. As you do, I encourage you to think about the basic principles he lays out and what that means for your own operation. Enjoy!


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