Holistic Management in cropping and dairy situations (fwd)
vic at daena.eepo.com.au
Mon Jun 30 22:24:10 EDT 1997
From: "Wyatt Fraas" <ceruaf01 at nol.org>
Subject: Re: Holistic Management in cropping and dairy situations
Dick - I know there are many folks who have extensive and intensive
experience with grass-based dairying, but I'll add a comment from the
'encourager' perspective. I'm working with a group of farmers who are
re-learning how to graze their dairy cows. They are working together
to compare practices and problems for feed rations, fencing and
watering materials, handling methods, grazing techniques. They
exemplify the trend toward group 'pasture walks' that the large grazing
networks in MN, MI, and WI hold each week or so. This peer support and
problem-solving appears to be critical to helping farmers to try new
approaches. I've found here in NE that there is indeed safety in
numbers - neighbors will laugh at an individual, but will take interest
and ask questions if a group tries something different.
came to the idea of grass dairying not for economics, but for
quality-of-life concerns. They were worn out from the grind of
managing machinery, hauling manure, treating sick and dirty animals,
working indoors, and not having family members help with the hard and
dangerous mechanical work. Spousal complaints about lack of family
time, fatigue and temperament helped push these men into looking for
alternatives. Several admitted they were looking for ways to stop what
they were doing, but their only perceived alternative was to stop
milking. Over 2 years, a respected neighbor presented the grass
alternative enough times that they finally understood him and took his
offer to try something new (and small-scale and safe) as a group.
After the first year, we convinced Extension to cosponsor a dairy
grazing workshop in the winter. We had a nationally known speaker who
wrote for a major dairy magazine about his grass dairy, as well as a
panel of these local dairymen. We attracted 50 farmers, most of whom
had heard a little about grass, but hadn't asked an experienced farmer
about it. They asked lots of questions. And Extension realized they
had missed the beginning of grass dairy interest here and are now
building an education program to help. As with any farming innovation,
dairymen must be convinced that they can make money if they change.
Economics wasn't the driving force with the NE farmers, q-o-l concerns
were, but they wouldn't even listen if the economics weren't there. So
now I present the dollar figures just as a way to remove that
objection, then I talk about the other advantages.
As for pineapple, you might ask folks at EARTH (Ag school for the humid
tropics) about alternative methods of raising pineapple. They've done
groundbreaking work with bananas and are working on other crops,
although I don't know which ones. You can reach them at: EARTH, Apdo.
postal 444-1000, San Jose, Costa Rica, tel 506 255-2000, fax 506
255-2726, www.earth.ac.cr, jfrench at ns.earth.cr
-- Wyatt Fraas
On 16 Jun 97 at 13:37, drichdsn at iafrica.com wrote:
Subject: Holistic Management in cropping and dairy situations
Hallo to you all from South Africa.
I am writing to try and get some help from anyone who has had experience with
Holistic Management in Cropping and also if anyone has had any experience with
grass-feed dairying. We have recently got involved with training people in
mixed agricultural situations and would like any help we can get from those of
you who have had experience in those fields.
In South Africa, Holistic Management is still seen to be very much a livestock
thing. Fortunately we are beginning to stimulate a lot of interest in people in
mixed agricultural situations and also in non-land based situations. There are
two particular areas that we would like help with.
1. Large scale pineapple production (which must be one of the most chemical
reliant crops around); sugar cane; chicory; peanuts (ground nuts); and maize.
We would appreciate any information on crop mixture possibilities, control of
problem organisms, land sizes and the introduction of edge effect, the
economics of changing from large scale conventional production to more holistic
management, etc. If you have any knowledge and experience in these areas we
would really appreciate hearing from you.
2. We also have several clients interested in changing from high
concentrate-reliant dairying to grass-feed dairying. The fear of change is one
of the biggest concerns so if you have any success stories to relate, what to
try and what not to try, we would appreciate hearing from you too.
Thank you for your time and all the best.
Dick and Judy Richardson
PO Box 10440
Vorna Valley 1686
E-mail: drichdsn at iafrica.com
Center for Rural Affairs
PO Box 736
Hartington, NE USA 68739
402 254-6893 fax -6891
ceruaf01 at nol.org
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