Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quality Pasture :: Chapter 7 Book Report

Yesterday I finished chapter seven, 'The Competitive Edge -- MIG', in Allan Nation's book "Quality Pasture". I found this chapter very interesting and informative and will probably have to reread it multiple times so I can digest all the great stuff! I'll just run down some of the highlights of this chapter.

Mr. Nation begins the chapter talking about some of the benefits of Management Intensive Grazing. Of course one of the biggest benefits is the higher stocking rate and pasture gain that you can get from having a MIG system in place. But, he also quoted Keith Milligan, of New Zealand, on his list of benefits. Mr. Milligan adds that MIG produces, "a better return on total investment, a lower labor input, a general conservation of the environment, and a much increased sense of peace of mind for the grazier." I think everyone will find these benefits appealing! Just so you know the experts believe MIG could raise your per acre production by 20% to 40% or higher if you can be flexible with your stocking rates according to the season.

He mentions some of the critical things for MIG: subdividing you pastures by geography, having access to clean water, using portable electric fencing, stockpiling forages for late fall/winter/early spring grazing, and spring pasture management to reduce damage to the pastures. He admits that this is a very rough and quick overview of MIG, but it is a great starting point to some of the more technical aspects. I think one of the things I learned in this chapter is that MIG is more than just moving your cows from chunk of grass to chunk of grass.

I'll leave you with this little chart from page 128 of Mr. Nation's book Quality Pasture. This list gives some different enterprises and average returns per acre. Very interesting stuff and made me think about my possible center piece operation.

Goats :: $50-200
Beef cow/calf :: $50-200
Pigs :: $150
Beef stocker :: $150+
Beef finishing :: $200+
Ewe lamb :: $400+
Dairy sheep :: $500+
Lamb finishing :: $1000+
Dairy beef :: $1000+
Pastured poultry--
eggs :: $30-50
meat :: $1000+
Seasonal grass dairy :: $900-2000

So, there is some food for thought! I do like the last three sentences of the chapter, "As Burt Smith said, 'The best way to learn to swim is to get in the water and start splashing around. Nobody ever learned to swim by just reading a book about it.' Are you reading to make some waves?"

Hmm... am I ready to make some waves? I think I am, but what will my next step be?

1 comment:

Walter Jeffries said...

We've been doing MIG on our pastures here in Vermont for about the last seven years. We have sheep, pigs and chickens on pasture. The mix of species is really nice because they graze slightly differently - together they improve the pasture better than when they're not grazing over the same areas. I can tell this when I have paddocks that only get the attentions of one or two of the species but not the other.

We're working on recovering the old pastures that had grown up. Doing it with animals is slower than bulldozers but a lot cheaper and it still works. It lets us grow into having gradually more animals.


in Vermont

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...