Water Retention and Soil Productivity   

Projected completion date: September 2015

Annual Monitoring of Productivity for 10 Years

Projected cost: $4500 - $5500

The project is aimed at increasing the ability of the soils in the area to retain water. We hope to achieve this through the formulation of an intensive grazing grid that will promote spoil productivity and a healthier plant base.

The project will turn the 7 existing pastures on the 480 acres into 23 pastures. Which will be grazed by 100 – 150 yearlings for up to 180 days of the year and hopefully will help extend the grazing period for the animals by up to 30 days annually as well as reduce run off and erosion in the area. 

Below is the diagram outlining roughly the details of the project. 





View of Completed Project Fall 2015

 

Time Management at Kiskatinaw River Ranch

Whilst this topic was  not overly stressed during our soil -water-grazing field day at the Day Grazing cell in June and was only lightly touched on at the AGM of the Kiskatinaw Ecological society and Memorial Trail Ride for Mark Nimitz in August, the actual theme of our Kiskatinaw River Ranch Management process is Time Management.

As of October 31st, 2015 our ranch has been effectively managed this year in six grazing units defined by location topography and major water site placement.  There are approximately 100 fenced, high tensile electric wire, pastures being utilized by two herds of horses and 3 herds of cattle during the growing season.  During the rest of the year, basically bale grazing season, we have two or three herds of cattle and one horse remuda.  This was a good grazing year and cattle were in their pastures mid May until end of October. Rotations thru pastures of 10 – 50 acres size are 2 to 5 days each depending on vegetation growth and usage.  In 2015 we got nearly two full turns on the Day Grazing cell with young stock and roughly one and three quarters turns on the other 5 grazing units.  Flexibility of rotation is a key.  A rigid rotation schedule for us is a No! No!.  Most of our pastures are multi cultural (shrubs-weeds-grass-trees-legumes).  High livestock density in small pastures for a short period of time allows us to optimize palatable vegetation growth and health plus animal growth and health also.  To avoid overgrazing all grazed areas get one to two months rest before reentry of livestock.  We have no control over deer, moose and elk who also get their share.  Monitoring all pastures and  grazing units pre and post entry is also a key to our  successful grazing any given year.  Our management programs have been developed by over 30 years of study and utilization of Holistic Management of Resources protocols presented and advanced by Allan Savory and other Grazing Gurus in North American, Australia and New Zealand. Remembering that Range and pasture management is both an art and a science has also been most helpful.

Time Management was the missing ingredient in pretty well every rotational grazing system developed in North America until 1980.  Usually with a rigid schedule of pasture movements and often featuring the take half leave half principle by the various universities, states, provinces and research stations, thus limiting the overall economic and ecological success of pretty well all of these highly recommended and over publicized grazing rotation systems.

The introduction of “Tyme “ in pastures plus “Herd Effect” similar to wild animal massive herds on the Serengeti; plus 18th – 19th century great plains of North America Bison Herds changed the entire ball game for graziers in Western Canada!  Just as we have changed from 19th to 21st century in our fencing technology ( Barbwire to High Tensile electric) we are also moving fast forward with our grazing-livestock management technology ( Time Management with high livestock numbers for a short duration followed by a long enough rest for plants to almost reach shot blade before regrazing.)

Bale grazing for approximately 6 months per year because we are at a northern latitude is practiced by putting out enough bales at one site for the entire week for a particular mature herd.  Several weeks sites are serviced pre winter in late fall and then a couple of more times as necessary during the snow –cold weather season.  Destrung bales bunched fairly close together also improves the soil a couple of acres at a time.

 Google photographic maps are used regularly for ranch planning and pasture management and are a great asset to our operation. 

At this stage of our ranching life, we thoroughly believe that proper beef cattle management ala high livestock numbers-small pasture-short duration graze-long rotation before regraze is the most successful methodology to employ in keeping this economic-environmental-social aspects of your local ecosystem in balance for the long term.

If you have a livestock herd and read this we recommend that you try out Time Management for yourself because it will save you tyme, make you money and keep your own ecosystem humming strong!

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