Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"The Accidental Farmers" :: Chapter 6 Book Report

I feel fairly confident in saying that I'm a big picture sort of thinker. I am much better at looking at things from the wide angle view instead of focusing in on the details ... although I do need to get better at the details because they are just as important as the big picture! But, that is all to say that I completely understand what Tim Young is writing about in chapter six, "Reviving the Prairie". When I walked over what is now Crooked Gap Farm for the very first time it was covered with tall prairie grasses and just seemed too good to be true ... once I had been on the farm for one season and the tall grasses had disappeared thanks to grazing and hay making I saw the reality of what I was working with. I saw that the farm needed some reviving!

Mr. Young shares his personal experiences and mistakes (I appreciate knowing others make mistakes!) with building a diversified livestock where the animals do the work of restoring the soil and ultimately the farm. In this chapter I think you'll find a very brief overview of management intensive grazing, and plenty of proof that it can be done. I do wonder though if Mr. Young has considered changing to multiple moves each day instead of just once a day? I've written about ultra high stock density grazing before and it is something that really intrigues me. For part of last summer I was making at least two moves a day I thought it was very beneficial. One downside for them at Nature's Harmony Farm though I think is the fact that their perimeter fence is not electric. That means they have to set up an independent paddock for each move where I have a little easier time with it because my entire perimeter is electric and I can easily tie into it.

As far as my use of high density grazing this coming season I think I'm going to be doing two moves again. My current job situation makes any more than that impossible, but a move before work in the morning and then again when I get off well give me two moves and should provide some of the benefits of a "mob". I'll just try to get all my paddocks set up in the evening. The rub of course will be the sheep ... I still haven't figured out how I'm going to graze them yet (with the cows or separately).

All in all this was a good chapter with lots to think about, but it is the next chapter that I'm really looking forward to ... "Farming's Dark Side".

1 comment:

Rich said...

"...I appreciate knowing others make mistakes!..."

I was thinking about this comment today and I could probably fill a book with all the mistakes and blunders ranging from small to colossal I have made.

A sample of some of the worst "mistakes" I have been involved in would include the engine throwing a rod in an old diesel pickup while going 60 mph down the road (it was like a grenade going off under the hood).

One morning, the tractor's brakes weren't working right and I rolled backwards right through a newly built fence, then in the afternoon I manged to catch a round baler on fire which burnt about a dozen bales of hay and almost burned the tractor to the ground (that was an all around great day that had me questioning my decision to be a farmer).

Mistakes, blunders, and acts of sheer stupidity will happen to everyone, the true test is how you deal with them and what you learn from them.

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