Hasnolocks and the Three Pastures – a Parable About How Graziers Change

Darrell Emmick, retired NRCS grazing specialist, shared this piece with us back in May of 2014. It describes both good grazing management - the kind that reduces inputs, increases profits, and could have saved many a dairy farm - and the frustration he felt from peoples' unwillingness to do what would work best for them. It's something your On Pasture editor can identify with all these years later! Once upon a time, Hasnolocks (a distant relative of Goldilocks), a follicularly challenged man of grass in central New York State, was able to attend pasture walks on three different farms on three consecutive days. Hasnolocks’ heart was overjoyed. For he remembers days gone by when pastured dairy cows were few and far between and he was viewed as a crazy man for telling people they could put their dairy cows back on pasture. Now after almost 30 years, there were enough pasture-based dairy farms in New York State that Hasnolocks was getting to attend three pasture walks in three days! However, on arriving at the first farm, Hasnolocks’ heart was saddened. For on this farm, he saw dairy cows walking around belly deep in headed out, stemmy, stalky, extremely low quality orchardgrass that the cows were trampling, peeing and pooping on, but mostly not eating. Although dismayed by what he saw, Hasnolocks attempted to explain to the farmer why having his cows in grass that tall was a waste of good grass and was causing him to spend way too much money on barn feeding his c

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One thought on “Hasnolocks and the Three Pastures – a Parable About How Graziers Change

  1. Thanks for reprinting this. I think the little parabolic tale probably speaks just as clearly as fifty analytic studies. (OK, maybe 37 studies.)

    Aside: There are times when people may let a field grow to maturity and then let the cows wander through, biting here are there for reasons that are not economic. They may, for example, have set aside that field for ground-nesting bird cover for the spring/early summer.

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