When Kent Solberg and his wife first got started where they farm today, the soil biology had been so degraded that there were corn stalks on the ground from six years before, unable to decompose. You might say he has a bit of first-hand experience with land renovation!
Kent and Doug Voss give an overview on “Renovation Ideas for Poorly-Performing Pastures” in the latest episode of Dirt Rich. Both farmers have renovated land on their own farms and helped others do the same. The two believe that with the right tools, vision, and management system, we can almost always make a piece of land more productive–even an old gravel pit.
To get started Kent and Doug recommend “looking at the entire context” of the particular pasture, including physical characteristics like soil type, slope, and aspect, as well as the history of the land that shaped it into what you’re seeing today like rainfall events, cattle class, and grazing duration. Once what you want to work on is identified, using the resources you already have and targeting the “low-hanging fruit” is a great place to start. Oftentimes, changing management practices such as stock density and grazing periods is the cheapest way to improve pasture performance, and you can see changes relatively quickly.
The two graziers share renovation stories on their own farms and share a shortlist of management tools. They remind us that it’s important to remember that conditions change and there isn’t a silver bullet recipe that will work every time, so being adaptable is critical. Having a long-term vision, understanding carbon cycling and rest & recovery periods, and starting small can make all the difference.
Tune into this Dirt Rich episode on your favorite podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podbean, and Google Play. You can also listen on the SFA website. Share with your friends, subscribe, rate and review to help us bring more people into the farmer-to-farmer network! Topic suggestions, comments? Drop us a line.