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Create a More Sustainable Homestead with SilvoPasture & Co-Grazing

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Regenerative agriculture supports the environment while improving your homestead’s productivity. Silvopasture and Co-Grazing are two regenerative methods that are gaining in popularity…

Co-grazing, rotational grazing, and managed grazing are regenerative agriculture methods that have become quite popular in sustainable farming circles in recent years. Designed to mimic the natural movement of animals on pasture, these methods help to maintain healthy soil and plant life, while improving health and reducing disease in livestock.

Co-grazing involves including multiple species of livestock in the same pasture area – either at the same time or in succession. For example, moving chickens onto pasture following cows or sheep, or grazing cows and goats in the same pasture at the same time. This helps to control diseases and parasites, as the different species aren’t all affected by the same parasites or pathogens – and some may even help control them. (For example, chickens may eat the larvae or eggs of parasites from the cows, thus disrupting their life cycle.)

Silvopasture is an interesting concept that utilizes trees in combination with pasture. According to this episode of the Pioneering Today Podcast:

Typically when we think about agriculture and raising livestock on pasture our main goal is to go in and remove trees and shrubs. We think of cattle and sheep as grazing animals and provide them with as much grass as we can.

It’s interesting because it incorporates trees into the equation, which for a lot of people is a really foreign concept because normally when creating pasture the goal is to eliminate those trees, not encouraging tree growth. So silvopasture is basically trying to get a symbiotic relationship between livestock, pasture, and trees.

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One of the key components to establishing a good silvopasture system is to have it cross fenced. That way you can get your animals around while you get your forage established under your trees…

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When you’re planning silvopasture, part of your goal is to not only manage your animals and forages, but you want to be able to manage your timber as well… Small farmers and people that are interested in homesteading may not necessarily look at it the same way as a commercial producer would. In my case, if my animals are happy and we’re putting meat in the freezer and it’s not costing me a ton of money out of pocket, to me, that’s a profitable system. Profitable doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making massive money off of something. If it works for you and it helps you reach your goals easier without costing you a ton of money out of pocket, then it’s profitable.

Ideally, everything in your silvopasture system should be profitable for you. It should be improving and helping the other parts of the system. If you’re raising livestock, they should be healthier which means that should be more productive. Your trees should also be healthier and more productive. So should your forages.

Read more or listen to the full podcast here

 

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