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“MAKING THE LIVESTOCK FIT THE LANDSCAPE” .not the other way round.

Discussion in 'Everything Else Sheep' started by The Old Ram-Australia, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Jun 1, 2019
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia True BYH Addict

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    G'day folks,i posted this topic elsewhere and received some interesting reactions,so i thought you may enjoy.It was shared as far away as Argentina,and the USA amongst others.

    Initially there was some "negative" responses from cattle people who i think failed to understand it was about my farm in our district.The whole idea was to initiate some thinking on there own circumstances and wether the decisions they had/ were making actually favored the landscape they were farming on.
    Anyway here it is and i hope you all enjoy ..comments welcome.

    G’day, this post was prompted by a comment I got lately with regard to utilizing Native grass species in a grazing operation.

    The evolution of grazing in our district since the demise of the dinosaurs has been of livestock like the Eastern grey Kangaroo and the Wombat and up until the ‘crash” of the wool floor price scheme was predominantly a wool production area. After the “crash”, many farmers turned to Cattle as their source of income going forward and these days the sheep are pretty “thin on the ground”.

    The introduction of both Cattle and industrial farming methods has had a severe impact on the ability of the landscape and environment to cope with a system it did not evolve for. Over clearing and over grazing has led to the degradation of both pasture and soils and a common sight of paddocks which have the appearance of a “coat of green paint “instead of forage.

    If as a farmer you stop and think about it for a minute or so, you soon realize that the weight of cattle grazing is going to adversely impact the landscape and local soils. To me the return to sheep production now we have “low input breeds “like the Dorper, Wiltshire and others mean that it is quite easy to return to “good health” over time of the land and breed Meat Sheep to an increasingly profitable marketplace.

    On our farm for the last 20 + years we have not used any Super, ploughed or seeded any of our 300 ac sheep block but instead over time have allowed Native species and Naturalized Exotic’s to establish on out highly acidic soils many with high Aluminum and subsequent mineral “lockup” .Our year round species respond to even a “heavy dew” to produce growth along with sufficient sub-soil moisture and cooling days mean that our Clovers and Cocksfoot are making growth going forward.

    We have recently started a new program using all of the available breeds to produce in a few years time a breeder ewe which will “fit” our farm perfectly without adversely effecting the landscape and return a 50/50 split of cost over returns.

    P.S.I hope the next post on the "new direction" will be an update on Jenny along with some thoughts of my own on how things are going,as some of you have experienced it before you may be able to offer advice.I do consider the group as part of my wider support base....T.O.R.
     
    TAH, Beekissed, AmberLops and 2 others like this.
  2. Jun 1, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I always enjoy your posts, drawing on your years of raising sheep. Your experiences and wisdom is certainly appreciated here. Clovers do well here on our place, but are short lived due to the heat. Bermuda and bahia are the go to grasses for the heat of summer. I am working to get both established here. Favored weeds are lambs quarters and giant ragweed, the sheep love both of those. What are the hot weather grasses that do best for you?
     
  3. Jun 2, 2019
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia True BYH Addict

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    G'day folks."thank you "B.M. for your comments.We treat the extremes in two ways,we save our Woodlands Grazing paddocks for the coldest /hottest parts of the year as those grasses have adapted to the extremes and so they are a source of the best forage in extreme times.In our open grazing paddocks we leave all of the "standing dry feed",because if you think about it its the "hot" winds that dry off the grasses in the summer and having dry grasses standing 2 ft tall reduces the evaporation rate and protects the fresh grasses underneath on the other hand in the winter the dry residue 2 ft high means that the severe frosts we get struggle to burn the fresh feed close to the ground.(bearing in mind really severe snow is not a common event for us but if it was we would introduce an alternative i am sure).....Most of our C 3's are in fact annuals with some year round ones which respond to any fall of rain ,that is why the above is so important in the forage supply to our sheep...T.O.R.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Our place is much, much smaller so I can be a bit more intensive. We just cleared a third of an acre from thick green briars and it is now bare dirt. I ordered giant Bermuda seed. We are currently raising Cornish cross meat chickens, which are legendary for their copious amounts of poop. I bed them with spoiled hay, second day, more hay, third day I move their chicken tractor. This is to take advantage of the fertility they leave behind. While there won’t be enough to cover the whole area, it will help. The premier grass here is Bermuda and Bahia, neither of which are native grasses, but both do exceptionally well in heat and grazing.
     
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  5. Jun 6, 2019
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    By the way, I was reading an article about Wiltshire sheep in New Zealand where they are apparently better suited hoof wise to the wetter climate. The author said that the "new" Meatmaster breed was developed by using Wiltshire ewes with Damara rams. Wiltshire was also one of the base breeds in the Katahdins. Wiltshires are a very old English breed that is a natural shedder. I thought all English breeds were woolies, but apparently the Wiltshire was a meat breed that almost went extinct when wool bearing sheep became more profitable.
     
  6. Jun 6, 2019
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia True BYH Addict

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    Thank you Ridgetop,we are fortunate to have several lines of the "poll" Wiltshire's and I am also on the "lookout" for a good type of Damara ram to go to our Damara /Wiltshire X's in the future.

    T.O.R.
     
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  7. Jun 6, 2019
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    On your way to T.O.R. MEATMASTERS! :weee
     
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  8. Jul 23, 2019
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia True BYH Addict

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    G'day folks, i posted this topic on another site and receive d the following response.I wold like your reaction to the question and my response?

    "I fully agree with your approach of fitting the right livestock to the landscape. How would you describe your approach to grazing? your thoughts on regenerative grazing methods please." Cheers Tim

    My answer:G’day Tim and thank you for your post .Today it’s “blowing a gale”, impossible to do any of the urgent tasks, so a time to think about a reply to your questions.
    “How would you describe your approach to grazing?”
    This question is capable of about two or more articles and some of the answers lie in previous post I think. Firstly our farm is made up of various landscapes (as is most farms I guess) and each type requires a different approach and solution, but in general there are a couple of rules I apply and these are. 1, each paddock is subjected to only 200 grazing days per year. 2, each paddock has a budget of total grazing pressure per year, based on the production capacity of the individual paddock, its forage makeup and its aspect.(a paddock will be assigned a number of say 2000 sheep grazing days over a 200 day grazing period ) although except for exceptional circumstances (like the current ones) where this will be adjusted to reflect the current state of the FOO .The total sheep grazing pressure is reviewed on an annual basis either up or down to reflect last year’s performance and the weather outlook for the coming season .In a recent post I showed a program blank of what I use.( https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/next...i:control:d_flagship3_pulse_read-read_related In the early days of our program development it became obvious that the “key” to pasture development is to get the rain “into the soil profile” as it was when the local landscape was evolving and before the white man with his axes and chainsaw.
    Your thoughts on” Regenerative Grazing”?
    For me it’s just the latest is a long line of concepts that I have noticed over the last 40 or so years. In that time we have had Natural, Organic, Permaculture, H.M, and Natural Sequence Farming and now we have Regenerative Grazing. They all seem to turn into “money making” operations, but anything which encourages caring for the land in a sympathetic manner is OK by me. To my mind agriculture be it livestock or cropping is a bit like “sex”. For one its “jump on and jump off”, while the other yearns for a “long and pleasurable outcome”and so it is with the landscape because if you abuse it with a chainsaw, Super and Herbicides in the end it will reject you, whereas if you treat it with respect and care it will reward you “forever”. I hope this post answers your questions, but I am happy to answer any others you may have.

    Your comments encouraged......T.O.R.
     
  9. Jul 23, 2019
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Herd Master

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    Hear, hear!!! Couldn't agree more. People really need to step off the "I want results NOW and I don't care how I get them, as long as it's NOW" train when it comes to farming and get back to the long view. Farming, if done right, rarely turns a quick profit, but a good steady outcome over time.

    That goes for pasture, soils, animal husbandry and management, etc. All of that takes some time to develop.

    I also agree 100% to making the livestock fit the land and environment and not the other way around. That applies to even smaller livestock.

    Great articles and thread! :thumbsup