Holistic Planned Grazing

The course will provide the opportunity for participants to work on both a growing and a non-growing season plan, using a scenario provided by the educator and/or details from their own property for one of the plans.

In the latter case, some work will be needed after the course to complete the plan, but participants will leave the course with a good understanding of what remains to be done and how to do it. The focus of this course is on learning the process because once that is understood, any situation, no matter how complex, becomes relatively easy to plan.

Why Holistic Planned Grazing is important: It caters to all the many variables that are commonly left out of grazing planning, such as erratic weather, different types or classes of livestock, grazing through croplands, orchards, vineyards, wildlife needs, and family needs (such as vacations), and much more. Although people think they can plan all of this in their heads or assisted by a calendar, notebook or chart, it is simply not possible to achieve the best plan in such a way. Following the aide memoir step by step while noting each decision on the chart renders even the most complicated situation simple— and produces the best possible plan. And this allows us to manage livestock grazing so that animals stay healthy and productive while increasing the biological capital that will sustain our business or livelihood for generations to come.

Duration: 3 Days
Date: TBD
Price: $399 + meals and accommodations (Discounts available for larger groups)

The Fundamentals of Holistic Planned Grazing

  • Holistic decision making and how it relates to Holistic Planned Grazing
  • Why plan your grazing?
  • Measuring forage utilization – in animal days
  • Grazing, overgrazing, and growth rates
  • Grazing periods and recovery periods
  • Time, density, and paddock numbers
  • Forage and drought reserves
  • Determining correct stocking rates
  • The critical non- or slow-growing season
  • Managing a drought
  • Watering large herds
  • Creating herd effect
  • Single vs. multiple herds
  • Wild grazers and browsers
  • Matching animal cycles to land cycles
  • Pests, parasites, and other challenges
  • Reading the land (walking or using slides) to review the brittleness scale, ecosystem processes, and management tools and their probable effects

Creating, Implementing, and Monitoring Your Grazing Plan

  • When to plan: open-ended and closed plans
  • Pre-planning considerations
  • How stocking rate relates to a holistic grazing plan
  • How to address livestock, land, conservation, and social needs
  • Create your growing season plan using the aide memoire and planning chart
  • Create your non-growing season plan using the aide memoire and planning chart
  • How to implement, monitor, and control a holistic grazing plan