It starts with the Sun, the Rain, the Soil
In a process called rotational grazing, we move our herd two or three times a day to eat fresh grass. This method mimics wild herds in natural habitats and restores the health of the grass, soil and ecosystem. Conventional tilling and planting disturbs the soil community and leaves soil vulnerable to the elements; in contrast, rotational grazing promotes a thicker cover of diverse grass species, which help the soil remain protected and resilient.
We use light-weight poly-wire electrical fence with moveable fence posts to create small paddocks. While the cows enjoy access to fresh grass, they also do important work for the pasture; leaving cow manure, trampling weeds which creates organic material that can return to the soil, and stimulating growth of various grasses through grazing. With the proper rest, the pasture is restored and thriving by the time the herd comes through again.
When we moved to this land, the soil and land was depleted and in poor condition, but we try to farm and live in a way that allows the earth to restore its health. Using principles from permaculture and holistic management, we look closely at the relationship between water, soil and plant health, cow health, milk production and quality yoghurt.
Planting trees is one of our passions and part of our long term vision of land health and resilience. We’ve planted a small family orchard of fruit trees and a stream buffer consisting of 600 native trees and shrubs. Our next project is building a system called silvo-pasture, which restores the land closer to its original, “Eastern Woodland” state. We will plant trees interspersed throughout our pastures, which will stabilize soil and soil temperatures, create habitats for birds and other wildlife, gift our cows with shade and extra forage, and diversify our products to include various fruits and nuts.