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Small Landholdings property planning program – workshop 3

Small Landholdings Property planning program – business planning tips and planned grazing

During NRM South’s third Property Planning workshop the group got to learn about business decision making and ‘Holistic Management Planned Grazing’.

The main focus of the day was looking at Holistic Management Planned Grazing (Planned Grazing) and other low-input land management approaches. Planned grazing is a structured way of using animals to regenerate pasture, and to improve soil health and grazing profitability.

This approach builds on the general principles of good rotational grazing and involves putting a large mob of animals into a small area for a short time (as little as a few hours), then remove them and letting the area recover (which can take from several months to over a year) before returning the animals again.

Our host Gerard Crochon has been managing his property in Nicholls Rivulet for last few years using Planned Grazing. Using this approach he has seen great improvements in pasture and soil health, and a significant decrease in pasture weeds across his farm. It was really inspiring to hear his story on how he manages his pastures and perennial crops, and why he decided to take this approach.

The group got to learn some basic principles of holistic land management from Gerard and Steven Joyce our holistic management presenter, including how to assess pasture and animal performance, the pros and cons to managing livestock using this system and how working with nature can be a useful risk management tool.

Our business session was run by Simon Townsend, who talked us through some key business decision making considerations including the importance of asset management, which is just as important for people managing a hobby or lifestyle block as it is for someone wishing to run a substantial agricultural business.

A great thank you to our host Gerard and our presenters Simon and Steve for making it a really informative and inspiring day!

More on Planned Grazing….

In a conventional grazing system, pasture grasses are typically grazed at the 2-3 leaf stage. With Planned Grazing pasture grasses are typically grazed at the 4-5 leaf stage, when dead leaf litter is formed. Feed for livestock is balanced with feed for the soil, as the dead plant material is trampled into the ground by grazing livestock. This can only be achieved through resting pasture for long periods. This process allows organic material and carbon to enter the soil, which in turn promotes nutrient cycling. The fundamental principle behind this management technique is to use livestock to improve the long-term health and resilience of pastures.

For more information please see Planned Grazing Guide and other resources below:

Soils for Life case studies

RegenAg

STIPA (native grasses association)

Rope River Landcare Group Holistic Management

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