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Thread: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

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    Senior Member 4wd's Avatar
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    Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Interesting video lecture, which contradicts most environmentalist viewpoints.



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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    That is amazing, 4wd - very good find for arguing with AR's and vegans and also re-iterates an article Mark Purdey wrote some years ago.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Working in the Middle East many years ago, I was of the opinion that herds of goats were not good for the green environment. That video certainly gave me food for thought.

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    Dave Applesquasher
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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Very interesting

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    intresting video ... real bummer we lost the mob grazeing topic there was alot of info in there about it if people were intrested

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Brilliant stuff. How can you argue with the results? Agree ref the mob stocking thread JD. Is The Ruminant on here again?

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    Senior Member 4wd's Avatar
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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Some applies to areas here too, for so long they have been determined that over grazing must be somehow a problem - then when the numbers have reduced the issues get worse and all they can think is to cut livestock even more!

    In the past there were probably 10x more sheep on the moors round here and that made them what they are.
    To be fair the NYMoors park is keen to at least stabilise numbers now and are even actively supporting flock owners.

    It would be a major turnaround for environmentalists to encourage livestock - so much so it's hard to see it happening.
    Especially if the increased numbers boosted human population and wealth too - completely at odds with all they stand for.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Yep we've seen that on Exmoor too 4wd. Areas have been destocked, of reduced stocking, and then they wonder why its being overtaken by gorse

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Our state Department of Natural Resources are now grazing some of their lands. Some endangered plant species that were present when taken over by the DNR have been reduced by their conservation methods. Seems plants need grazing animals as much as the animals need the plants.

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    Senior Member b slicker's Avatar
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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    The video seemed to gloss over what happened to animal performance during the initial phases of the re-stocking programme.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    i kinda wondered what happens to the slow one at the back each day ...

    he did rase one point and it's one all the people talking about mob grazeing don't say .. i got bashed for saying animals will not move but will stay near water getting to a point of inbreeding and disease starveing death .. the only reson mob grazeing works is adding fear IE dogs wolfs lions etc etc and dumb amimals ...
    cattle and sheep will work with mob grazeing but goats deer etc i don't belive the same outcome would happen

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    I can't see how an environmentalist can be against livestock per se- its food 'for free' which we would not otherwise have.

    I still think there is some work to do mind. It is readily identifiable that over grazing can cause a lot of damage, as in the video, he explained high density for a very short period. Only that doesn't always happen. Africa is so politically and socially unstable that naturally people are not so keen to move around as much as they once did.

    The video also explains how the old US prairies worked.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    This video quite rightly points out the principle behind the utilisation and maintenance of natural (and farmed) grassland is rotational grazing. Grass (and its' co-species) evolved under the regime of periodic seasonal grazing long before human civilisation developed farming of animals. If environmentalists want to make "fragile" grasslands sustainable, they should ban set stocking and put controls on allowing the grass to express itself through short grazing intervals with mobs large enough to prevent selective grazing and followed by long spelling. Grazing power can be achieved by either large mobs or small mobs restricted in grazing area.

    We as farmers complicate this slightly as requiring the maintenance of high quality feed (young leaf age) thereby shortening grazing intervals. However all forms of rotational grazing still works with nature better than set stocking where preferential grazing and nutrient transfer are huge influences in changing the whole ecology. Farming with nature is always more profitable, but often what nature requires has to firstly be understood.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by b slicker View Post
    The video seemed to gloss over what happened to animal performance during the initial phases of the re-stocking programme.
    But to be fair, as I see it, the primary aim was to stop desertification, animal performance was a secondary concern. He was talking initially about conservation areas that previously had been overgrazed by set stocking of either farmed or wild animals, then either undergrazed in an attempt to stop the desertification, or even burnt in a misguided effort to manage the problem.
    The fact that the livestock could support local communities was an added bonus, and makes the principle replicable on a 'commercial' scale.

    I suspect it demonstrates our slowness to look at the long term, and treat symptoms rather than causes. So what if animal performance suffers in the first year or so (provided welfare is not compromised) if it means long term you can support production where otherwise it would turn to desert?

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Its all well and good, but what do we do with land that is already desert? Assuming we can air drop plants and get them to establish, this may go some way to getting the deserts to recede.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    I remember many many years ago as a teenager, about 40 to be exact, reading about a scientist who proposed that we all shared the same air,soil,water - the Gaia theory. He was heckled of course. Then his theory changed the way we look at living systems and changed natural science for future generations.

    I get the same feeling listening to this. I just hope the worlds' governments can be a bit more open minded, a bit sooner, this time.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by poorbuthappy View Post
    But to be fair, as I see it, the primary aim was to stop desertification, animal performance was a secondary concern. He was talking initially about conservation areas that previously had been overgrazed by set stocking of either farmed or wild animals, then either undergrazed in an attempt to stop the desertification, or even burnt in a misguided effort to manage the problem.
    The fact that the livestock could support local communities was an added bonus, and makes the principle replicable on a 'commercial' scale.

    I suspect it demonstrates our slowness to look at the long term, and treat symptoms rather than causes. So what if animal performance suffers in the first year or so (provided welfare is not compromised) if it means long term you can support production where otherwise it would turn to desert?
    I take your point, but you maybe haven't been involved in development work with farmers.

    Such a project requires the involvement and support of local graziers who are likely to have a strong tradition of following age-old practices. It is they who will provide the stock, and have to be pursuaded to come together in a project which will be completely alien to their inbuilt beliefs and may well involve neigbours with whom they have longstanding disputes. Many of them will take great pride in the appearance and individual performance of their stock. So how animal performance is affected in the initial stages is of supreme importance.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    agree with B and GO
    think the thing is over grazeing in some areas maybe due to type of fodder or lay of the land way blocks are fenced and controling feed values .. alot of the herdsman in 3rd word country may not be keen to forse animals in to rougher areas
    looking at the video for us hard to do the same thing but smaller blocks and moveing stock would use a higher amount of feed and in turn leading to higher value feed eating power is a big thing hoof and tooth on some of our ground would improve feed
    thing is alot of the system is based on cattle ,buffalow etc even tho they had sheep there 25 000 sheep have huge eating power ..

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by b slicker View Post
    Such a project requires the involvement and support of local graziers who are likely to have a strong tradition of following age-old practices. It is they who will provide the stock, and have to be pursuaded to come together in a project which will be completely alien to their inbuilt beliefs and may well involve neigbours with whom they have longstanding disputes. Many of them will take great pride in the appearance and individual performance of their stock.
    Am I the only one who sees the irony in this post, from someone who regularly advocates the value of 'bonny hids' and cosmetic appearance?

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    Senior Member b slicker's Avatar
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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    Am I the only one who sees the irony in this post, from someone who regularly advocates the value of 'bonny hids' and cosmetic appearance?
    What are you gabbling on about now. I thought I was getting you a bit better educated, but this is a serious relapse.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by treeman View Post
    Working in the Middle East many years ago, I was of the opinion that herds of goats were not good for the green environment. That video certainly gave me food for thought.
    Goats are not good if kept in the same place. Movement and rest of grass is key. Goats would have been one type of eating habit amongst many in the great scheme of things - generally browsers.
    Quote Originally Posted by poorbuthappy View Post
    Yep we've seen that on Exmoor too 4wd. Areas have been destocked, of reduced stocking, and then they wonder why its being overtaken by gorse
    A lot of conservation bodies have not understood the difference between stocking rate and resting land in the growing season. So like we've got on our national park coastline where they've fenced off and destocked - we've got severe undergrazing and overgrazing in patches. Bits of gorse/bracken and then bald grass. Numbers of animals doesn't = overgrazing, time of the animals on the land does.

    Quote Originally Posted by JD-Kid View Post
    i kinda wondered what happens to the slow one at the back each day ...

    he did rase one point and it's one all the people talking about mob grazeing don't say .. i got bashed for saying animals will not move but will stay near water getting to a point of inbreeding and disease starveing death .. the only reson mob grazeing works is adding fear IE dogs wolfs lions etc etc and dumb amimals ...
    cattle and sheep will work with mob grazeing but goats deer etc i don't belive the same outcome would happen
    Fear can take on a different element and also you have to remember out domesticated animals whilst don't particularly react to predators now they still react to a herd instinct. There wouldn't be many slow ones at the back because they develop herd instinct. For example if you go on a bus trip for a few days in the beginning no one wants to speak to each other very shy, by the end of the people probably would be mortified if they were out of the group. A different emotion arises in a herd. Goats and deer it may not work but Savory is pointing out the ecology of the situation more than the reasons why the farmers say it won't work. You can design your system accordingly.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Welcome back Willyscale. Give Ruminant a poke too can you. The mob grazing thread is sorely missed!

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by poorbuthappy View Post
    Welcome back Willyscale. Give Ruminant a poke too can you. The mob grazing thread is sorely missed!
    I'm really hating this multiple forum thing so not registered here. It takes too long and essentially its pointless. I think Clive and t'other bloke should sort it out and merge.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Its all well and good, but what do we do with land that is already desert? Assuming we can air drop plants and get them to establish, this may go some way to getting the deserts to recede.
    We could all learn a lot from Israel

    A big file but a lot of useful info on how to be very productive in hot arid climates. Actual greening the desert page 30,31

    http://www.moag.gov.il/agri/files/Is...re_Booklet.pdf

    Also perfected livestock by using insulated ventilated animal sheds and strip harvesting of grassland

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    That Israel example is all technology and extraction though. The Savory argument is that it is not just technology that builds soils (in fact technology does not build soils but it can improve efficiencies). And Israel, Syria, Jordan etc didn't used to be desert - in the Bible times it was a very verdant place - certain management techniques exacerbated their problems.

    Same in Australia. Went to a farm once in western NSW and it was called something like Meadow View. And it terms of land and fertility it was f****d. But the point is when someone first set the farm up it was a fertile place - the more brittle climates do not respond well to European grazing techniques.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Grazing directly affects soil rhizome and root content, I have just been reading a study about this. My initial feeling is that a third world farmer will be hard pressed to manage the system well enough to ensure it works. You have to remember a very large portion of the livestock keepers in the world do so with no fencing whatsoever.

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Grazing directly affects soil rhizome and root content, I have just been reading a study about this. My initial feeling is that a third world farmer will be hard pressed to manage the system well enough to ensure it works. You have to remember a very large portion of the livestock keepers in the world do so with no fencing whatsoever.
    You may actually be right because third world is not likely to have the educational resources. But remember the third world farmer wouldn't need fences - they are generally herding people/pastoralists anyway who don't fence but I accept that the practicalities may be insurmountable. But to you, is the concept sound or not?

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    Re: Boosting livestock reverses desertification

    fences would not be a major maybe a holding area at night that as it was pointed out could be next years garden ..
    water is the biggest factor any drover will tell you how far cattle or sheep will walk per day so thats a big issue
    sheep and herding trained to it they are OK but sheep have small groups think they worked out up to 7 others in a flock they can ID .. draft them in to a diffrent mob they stress out realy want to see stress levels take off bring a dog
    there will be slow ones dropping off all the time the mob of 25 000 would be loseing 3-6 a day on avg if alowed to live longer that number would rise more old age health etc , dog's and men would have to eat each day that could be 1 a day there depending on numbers
    one thing we are kinding forgetting is the mob grazeing of old nothing was removed all dung on the ground animals died and rotted down etc etc some years bad dry times or long winter deaths in the US grasslands could have been 1000's
    our sheep will turn the country in to a pattern that looks like ring worm over grazeing areas and leaveing others due to lay of the land some areas just too far from water for day to day moveing

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