EMBRACING HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT - TWO FAMILIES DESCRIBE THEIR JOURNEYS.
A View of Holistic Management Practices
by Greg and Carol Hoadley, “ Dunwoodie", Glenmorgan, QLD
Although originally skeptical about some of the warm and fuzzy claims made by its proponents, we had seen enough over the last 50 years to know that none of the methods we were using to manage our country, were totally successful.
The decline in grass production, loss of fodder species, regrowth problems and siltation of watercourses have always been put down to over stocking. This doesn't ring true when you have very lightly stocked country going backwards.
Holistic Management is really a framework for decision-making in which logic prevails over preconceptions. It is therefore useful in any enterprise. As it applies to grazing livestock we have used it to increase the number and size of plants in our pasture. The result, apart from more feed, has been increased water retention through less runoff, better infiltration and less evaporation.
One of the unexpected benefits has been that cattle know when a white ute appears in the paddock and the horn is sounded, all they have to do is follow it and they will end up in a fresh paddock of good feed. Sometimes that paddock is the stockyards, but they still follow. Mustering was never like that in the good old days. As we have gotten older and health has deteriorated, this ease of handling by itself would justify the switch to Holistic Management.
Probably not everyone will find this a suitable system but if you are not totally satisfied with what you have done in the past, this has to be worth a good hard look. Most Holistic solutions seem to require more brain work than money to implement so that goes straight to the bottom line.
Battling the drought armed with a Holistic Management Grazing plan
by Peter and Narelle Campagnoni
Having done the Holistic Management Course in 2000, we embarked on a subdivision plan for our property. We then battled through the 2002 – 2003 drought; spent massive amounts of money on feed and weaned the calves early. This resulted in far too many poddy calves, we became severely stressed but maintained our beloved breeders! But at such a cost.
Of course, the seasons deteriorated again. In March 2005, Peter went to a Holistic Management event in Armidale. He came home determined to sell and reduce our breeder numbers. There was much resistance from Narelle! But eventually the decision was taken to sell about ¾ of our beloved breeders – an emotional decision as we have an 80-year-old herd.
We were able to manage the dry years following – with much less income but also with no expenditure on feed and much less stress. We continued with our timed grazing management, attending a refresher course with Inside Outside Management in late 2005, early 2006.
It did eventually rain! Though the rain was not a great amount – because the country had been allowed to recover, there was a good growth in the grass which enabled us to buy cows at a time when most people were still selling. We have actually been able to buy back better quality cows – something we thought was only a dream! Another paradigm!
There is now an abundance of grass with the recent rains and we have enjoyed not having to compete in the market to restock, having replaced our breeders so much earlier.
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