Over the years of establishing and fine-tuning their management systems, grazing has become absolutely key in both Jared Luhman’s and Doug Voss’ cattle and dairy operations. Beyond rotational grazing, Adaptive Multi-Paddock grazing (or AMP) has improved the ecology of their farms–not to mention saved the time, energy, and expense of hauling around feed and other off-farm inputs–by modeling their grazing systems after the natural movement of wildlife across landscapes. “There’s no substitute for what comes out the back of a cow or small ruminant,” Doug jokes.
Doug hasn’t used any off-farm inputs for years, and yet his yields continue to grow. The adaptive part of AMP is quintessential: not only is a successful grazing plan going to be unique and flexible to the context of a piece of land, but to the conditions that may come to pass during the season, be it a change in rainfall or a family wedding you need a couple days to travel to.
The number of variables to consider may be daunting, but as Doug reminds us, creating an adaptive grazing plan is more of a journey than a destination. In the interview, he shares some advice for those looking to start to graze as well as those looking to improve their management, covering fencing, watering systems, rest periods, and examples from Voss Farms.
The payoff is worth it. AMP grazing has brought Doug great peace of mind and more predictable income: “I have far fewer challenges where I’m not going to be productive or profitable on an acre of ground than I’ve ever had before.”
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