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Summer 2017 / Volume 09 Issue 02

ORGANIC GRAIN SUPPLY AND DEMAND


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BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT


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YOUNG ORGANIC FARM FAMILIES GROWING OUR NUMBERS


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Summer2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Executive Director's Report


Mission: To represent and support
Alberta's entire organic industry.
on growth of the sector, including
Vision: A strong, sustainable and
supply. There are still companies who
united organic community in Alberta.
arent expanding into organics because
Editor/Submissions & Advertising
of lack of supply. Furthermore,
Editor: Debbie Miller companies are turning to imports when
306-642-0216 they need to, but they would rather get
editor@organicalberta.org their product from Canada. So, it is
Copy Editor logical that we should supply it.
Brenda Frick
306-260-0663 One other important point to note, is
organic@usask.ca that those companies that want to get
Graphic Designer into organics, are going to do so only
Cari Hartt when they are confident there
587-521-2400 issufficientand consistent supply. The
cari.hartt@organicalberta.org result is that demand and supply will
not grow together. Demand will be
Executive Director
Becky Lipton, Executive Director: slow now, and grow slowly with
Becky Lipton:
Organic Alberta increased supply. We may not see the
587-521-2400
high prices we saw in 2015 again, but I
becky.lipton@organicalberta.org
Board Members
In this issue we have tackled an important have traveled across Alberta, Canada,
Representatives elected by region: and sensitive issue head on. How has the US and globally promoting Prairie
(N) North (S) South (C) Central increased production affected grain prices, Organic Grain to both conventional and
(M) Member at Large what is happening with the markets, and organic companies, and the
President: Tim Hoven (S): how have imports affected prices? Grain conversation is always the same; they
403-302-2748 prices have generally gone down this past are seeing very large growth on the
timhoven@gmail.com year, and although processors and those organic side of their businesses, and
Vice President: Dawn Boileau (C): buying feed are happy, there are a number they expect it to continue to grow.
780-218-2430 of grumblings on the grain producer side.
dawnboileau@gmail.com But lets also be intentional about what
Treasurer: Heather Kerschbaumer (N): The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative hired kind of growth we want. As supply of
780-835--4508 Stuart McMillan to investigate further. In organic grains have increased in
gaseeds@kerbagroup.com
the article Organic Grain Supply and Alberta, we have attracted new value-
Secretary: Trevor Aleman (S):
Demand on page 4 you will come to added companies. Grain buyers have
403-308-4003
understand how market demand remains built new facilities and transitioned
trevor@busybeasmarketgarden.com
strong, how imports haven't necessarily existing ones, and more complex
Abbie Stein-MacLean (M):
780-984-3068
affected prices, and the effect increased processing facilities are being built. We
asteinmaclean@gmail.com production has on prices. However, as should be supporting those companies,
Bernie Ehnes (M): Debbie Miller points out in her "Marketing and helping them grow. Their growth is
403-666-2157 Checklist" on page 5, we still need to focus our growth, so lets grow together.
behnes@gmail.com
Frank Maddock (M):
780-727-2333 Organic Alberta Supporters
jaspersprings@live.com
Big thank you to the following people and organizations who sent in donations, renewed
Charles Newell (AB repfederal level):
their membership, or became new members over the last few months:
780-809-2247
newellsfarm@gmail.com
Pier & Tiny Brouwer, Rosemary Wotske, Kerry & Lisa Wilson, Daniel & Marilyn Wiebe,
Frank & Shirley Doerksen, Frank & Margaret Dyck, Herman & Maria Friesen, Isaac & Anna
Fall 2017 deadline is Friday, September
Krahn, Jake Wall, John Derksen, John & Susie Wiebe, Oliver Anderson, Janice Fallows, Peter
15th. Please send comments,
& Anna Bueckert, Peter & Irene Mihailuk, Peter & Judy Zacharias, Mark Gibeau,
suggestions, ads, and/or articles to
Steve Snider, The Organic Box, OCIA International-Canada, PHS Organics, Richardson
editor@organicalberta.org
Milling, XPT Grain, Penergetic Canada.

www.organicalberta.org 2
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Ukrainian Honey
Cake (Miodowuik)
As part of our celebration of local
family growers (and eaters) this
issues recipe comes from Nadia
Sech, Organic Alberta staffer
Alice Sechs Grandma! Organic
food and family are very
important to all of us at Organic
Alberta. The desire to support the
people we depend on to grow our
food is what attracted us in the
first place, and that passion for
organic food and farmers keeps
us all coming back day after day.
Alices Grandma is an important
role model for Alice. Alice
describes her as a kind, humble,
very tolerant person who
maintains a positive, optimistic
attitude no matter what, and at
the age of 76 still manages to stay 3 cups flour tsp baking soda
on top of all the latest technology! 1 cup honey tsp pure vanilla
2 cups beer 2 tbsp cinnamon
This cake appears at every Sech 5 eggs tsp ground
family event, special occasion, 1 cups sugar cloves
and often just at day to day meals. 2 tsp baking 1 cup oil
It is sweet and spicy at the same powder 2 3 tbsp rum
time. The recipe has travelled
with the Sech family from 1. Mix flour, baking powder,
Ukraine, through Poland and now baking soda. Set aside.
to Canada. One taste and Alice is 2. Beat eggs with sugar. Slowly
home! add honey, then add cinnamon
and cloves. Combine with the
Do you have a family recipe or flour mixture. Add beer and rest
food tradition you would like to of ingredients. Pour into bundt or
share? Wed like to hear about it! tube pan.
Send your recipes and memories 3. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour
to
Debbie.miller@organicalberta.org

www.organicalberta.org 3
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Organic Grain Supply and Demand


By Debbie Miller,Editor: Organic Alberta total agricultural land and the majority is in Report showed a current price for organic
permanent pasture, so it doesnt have a corn at $7.50 to $8/bu, significantly down
Stuart McMillan (Organic inspector, direct impact on overall commodity supply from the 5-year average of $12-$13/bu, with
consultant and farmer) has been studying or prices. At less than 1% of total grain- no sign of it changing. So why should we
the current situation on organic grain producing land there is lots of room for care about the price of corn in the US?
supply and demand. He shared some of his growth! The good news is Canadian organic Because US corn sets the floor price for
findings with us in the May Prairie Organic producers are also improving the quality every other cereal in the organic
Grain Initiative teleconference call. and yield of their crops by improving their marketplace. For example, that $12-13/bu
management practices, especially soil barley was because the US had two back to
Although a lack of data makes it difficult to fertility. back droughts, while demands on their
gather all the necessary information to dairy/poultry sector was high, leading to a
answer these supply/demand questions, What is this doing to prices? Although shortage and high corn prices. If conditions
Stuart identified three important issues that organic hard red spring wheat prices have go back to normal and the price for US
speak to where organics is at: dropped, were still at about a 200% feed corn returns to $8/bu, they are likely
premium to conventional. The 300-400% we not going to be willing to pay $12/bu for
Market Demand saw in the past reflected a special Canadian feed barley. According to
Production Supply circumstance where supply was severely McMillan watching the US corn price is
The role of imports and exports within the limited. Oats are unique in that they are critical to knowing where organic
North American market. primarily a North American market, not a commodity prices are going within
lot of imports and exports. Because they are Canada.
Market Demand. According to FiBL mainly grown in the northern Canadian
(Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), prairies, the drought in 2015 caused a huge So, what about a crop where we are a
the USA represents 47% of the global decrease in yields, which resulted in prices dominant supplier to the US? As part of his
organic market. Combined with Canadas skyrocketing as high as $9.15/bu for a short presentation Stuart also looked at durum
4% we have more than half of the global time (conventional oats were $2.75/bu at wheat. In 2013-14 we were the biggest
demand for organic products right here in the time). High prices in 2015 prompted supplier of durum to the US. However, by
North America. The dollar value of the US producers to plant even more oats in 2016, 2016 we had dropped down to 44%, with
market alone is estimated at 35,782 million there was lots of forward contracting, and Argentina out-competing us and supplying
Euros (approx. $54,315 million Canadian good yields so we finished the year with 10 55% of US durum needs. Should we be
dollars) A variety of statistics show that times the average amount of oats to carry worried? Not necessarily. Canadian organic
demand within the US and Canada over. The prospects for any real increases durum continued to have a solid value
continues to grow, even through the in oat prices going forward are not great. throughout 2016 and our 2016 durum
recessions, and is not showing any signs of harvest was poor quality. However,
slowing down. This demand has been Role of Imports and Exports. It is difficult Argentine prices are still steady at $10/bu
fueling the switch into organics and driving to determine the impact/role of imports on less than Canadian.
the prices weve seen in the past 5 years. the Canadian market because data is almost
Even with the increased number of non-existent here. Federal HS codes allow In short, although prices are and will
producers, there remains significant us to look at imports and exports, but we continue to fluctuate as demand, quality
untapped demand. While we are seeing dont have organic-specific HS codes in and our ability to supply certain markets
some large retailers entering the Canada. The US has started gathering this also fluctuates, and there is no doubt that
marketplace, as well as expansions in type information, meaning they can look at both we are competing with producers in other
and brands of organic products being value and volume of imports and exports. countries to fill those growing markets, we
developed, it seems that many large players For example, we know that in 2016 73% of are also in a very unique position. At less
cant enter the marketplace at all because all imported organic products came from than 2% of agricultural crop land in
supply is not consistent or reliable enough. Turkey. Argentina and Romania were next organic, we have the potential to increase
For example, a large brewer wants to at 10% each, 4% came from the Netherlands our supply to the point where we may
switch over a major line but with their and Canada was at just 3%. Considering we become a one stop shop, especially for top
volumes, there wouldnt be enough organic are the nearest neighbour it appears we quality organic grain. As more companies
soft white wheat and barley for the switch. have lots of room to increase the amount of see that we can supply all their needs, they
product we send south of the border! will be more comfortable expanding and
Production Supply. Data collected by the increasing their organic lines, which will
Canada Organic Trade Association shows We also know that there were million translate into more demand. More than
increases in organic acres as well as more tonnes of organic corn imported into the US half the global demand for organic food is
farmers going through transition. (Check in 2016. Most of it came from Argentina and already right here on our doorstep and no
out our Spring 2017 issue for the full report). Brazil, with Canada supplying a very small one is better positioned to take advantage
However, organic is still less than 2% of amount. The April USDA Organic Price of it than we are.

www.organicalberta.org 4
Summer2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Marketing Checklist shatter because of too many trips through through our everyday food choices. It
an auger or deteriorate through improper could mean spending a little bit more for
By Debbie Miller, Editor: Organic Alberta storage. Check out pivotandgrow.com for some things, which may mean cutting back
some great resources. on something else but these are the
All markets can be fickle, and organic choices we want our customers to make
markets are no exception. Many things, Work together to grow the supply. Yes, and we should do no less. By purchasing
such as weather, are outside of the this does sound counter-intuitive. There has local organic food, we are not only doing
control of either farmers or buyers. been an increase in production over the what is best for our health and the
However, there are a few things that past couple years, and this has led to environment, we are helping to keep more
Alberta organic farmers can do to help reduced prices. If prices are dropping why local families on the farm. It doesnt get
weather the ups and downs of the organic would we want more supply? However, for any better than that!
marketplace: the most part, that increase is still not
enough to fulfill the market demand and
Know your cost of production. Do you there are still some companies who are not Market Prices
need $13 barley or can you cover your expanding because of a lack of supply.
bills on $8 barley? If not, is there another When we dont have the supply to meet and OrganicBiz is theonline source of news
crop that would fit into your rotation and maintain our current markets, it is easier and information specifically tailored to
bring a better return? for other countries to come in and fill the the needs of farmers practicing organic
gaps. agriculture, and farmers considering
Dont put all your eggs in one basket. organic practices. OrganicBiz gathers
Diversity is key not only to building Companies will look to wherever they can and posts monthly price information at
healthy soil and a well-rounded farming to find the product they need at a organicbiz.ca/category/markets/. The
operation, it is also an excellent competitive price and if they can get following prices are from Late June.
protection against unanticipated everything they need from one source that
disasters, whether they come in the form is much easier for them. We need to grow Crop Price: Bushel (Tonne) Premium
of weather or pest issues or falling our supply and quality so that we are that
Spot Prices: Western Canada
markets. My father-in-law always grew one source. When we have a relatively
both hard red spring and durum wheat small group supplying a large market it is Wheat - Red Spring $16.50 ($606) 216%
in case the price or quality of one was tempting to become protectionist and not
Wheat - Feed $8.50 ($312) 199%
poor he would have the other to fall back want to let anyone else in on our good
on. For the same reason, he always had thing. However, to do that is to risk losing Barley - Malt $11 ($505) 244%
cows and field crops. it all.
Barley - Feed $6.25 ($287) 195%

Focus on improving the quality of your We are encouraged to see that the number Rye - Milling $7.50 ($295) 300%
products. The Prairie Organic Grain of organic farmers in Alberta is growing,
Oats $5 - $5.50 ($324 - $357) 162% - 208%
Initiative has been hearing from buyers and that so many young families are
that there are issues with the quality of moving into organics. This bodes very well Flax - Brown $35 - $36 ($1378 - $1417) 290% - 318%

some of the grain coming out of the for the future of organics in Alberta, and
Peas - Yellow $17 ($625) 203%
prairies. They have responded by co- especially for our ability to not only meet
hosting workshops, field days, and but grow our markets. New Crop: Western Canada

assembling resources to give producers Wheat - Red Spring $16 ($588) 213%
tools to improve their soil and the quality Walk the Talk. We need to support each
other by asking for and purchasing local Oats $5.75 - $6 ($373 - $389) 193% - 247%
of their crops. Also pay attention to
yourpost-harvest handling and storage. organic products as much as possible. Don't Flax - Brown $34 ($1388) 296%
Once you have successfully harvested a settle for less. We have an important role to
play in growing the organic marketplace Peas - Yellow $16 ($588) 210%
good quality crop you dont want it to

Organic Market Opportunities


Classified Ads
Growerss International is buying all varieties ofwheat,durum,barley,oats, flax, spelt, peas, mustard and lentils. Call one of our buyers
today! Mark Gimby: 306-652-4529, Braden Neuls: 306-227-8872.
F.W. Cobs Company is buying organic grains, including wheat, barley, peas rye, screenings, and more. We buy FOB the farm, delivered to
Loreburn, SK or loaded rail. Call 888-531-4888 ext. 7 or 8.
Are you looking for a consistent supply oforganicsoybean meal? Shafer Commodities can assist you with all of your organic needs, we are
also buying HRS, durum, flax, barley & peas 403-328-5066.
Wanted: Finished certified organic grain and grass fed beef. For Sale: Certified organic alfalfa seed, feeder hogs, and milking cows. Also
Freezer pork, lamb and beef. Contact Peter Lundgard at Nature's Way Farm 780-338-2934.
Trade and Export Canada is buying all grades of organic grains. Call 1-306-433-4700.

www.organicalberta.org 5
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

effective we need to keep our How these four principles come together
land covered in litter (green on your farm is up to your particular
or dead plant material). This situation and your creativity. As the
absorbs the physical effect of principles are enhanced good things
the raindrops and allows begin to happen. For example, carbon
them to enter the soil slowly. sequestration begins in the soil. 1 gram
You can think of the litter of carbon holds 8 grams of water.
layer like the skin on your Increase carbon storage, and your farm
body. If you have a major becomes better able to withstand
burn the consequences can drought or extreme wet conditions. As
be catastrophic. Litter carbon increases along with solar
Basic Principles provides a similar role for capture more life can live below ground.
of Holistic Management the earth. It keeps it warmer This life below ground increases the
in cool times and cooler in nutrient density of the food which is
Photo by Sandy Black warm times.One of our goals should be to critical for our health. Our requirement
capture every raindrop where it falls. for purchased inputs declines and yields
By Blain Hjertaas, speaker at the joint go up which certainly helps profitability.
Organic Alberta/Holistic Management Principle #3: Mineral Cycle
conference in Lacombe To have a functioning mineral cycle we Society as a whole will benefit by more
This is a revised version of an article that originally
need active biology. This occurs when nutrient dense food, less infrastructure
appeared in Summer 2017 issue of the BC Organic sunlight sends sugar down the roots to damage in severe weather events, and
Grower, Volume 20, Issue 3. become root exudates, which feed the carbon being removed from the
bacteria and fungi. In return for the atmosphere. On my operation in South
Holistic Management is a decision-making sugar, the fungi get minerals for the Eastern Saskatchewan, I have been
system that helps to create happy people and plant. These minerals are generally not monitoring soil carbon levels since 2011.
healthy profits by making decisions that are available to the plant; however the I am averaging 22.88 tonnes of CO2
sociologically, environmentally, and mycorrhizal fungi can remove minerals sequestered per hectare per year on a
economically sound. from the soil particles and transport it grazing operation. Each Canadian has a
directly to the plant. This is a synergistic carbon footprint of 18.9
Although it teaches us the basic principles of relationship where the plant feeds the tonnes/person/year. Every hectare I
regenerative agriculture, how each of us uses fungi and the fungi feeds the plant, and is operate more than sequesters one
these principles is what makes holistic how nutrient dense food is produced. To Canadians carbon footprint.
management so unique. We each use our have an effective functioning mineral
own creativity to make it work in our cycle in place, we need to feed the Regenerative farms provide tremendous
situation. workers below the ground (solar value in ecological goods and services to
capture)and keep them warm and moist all of society that we are not recognized
Principle #1: Solar Capture (litter layer and effective water cycle). for. On my 1,000 acre operation at a
We need sunlight in order to send energy to The bacteria provide many diverse roles value of $20/ton for CO2, my
the soil. It is free and non-limiting. There are from producing enzymes required to sequestration value is worth $175,000
only three things we can do to increase solar being food for the predators which in per year to society. More water holding
capture: we can make solar panels larger, turn releases nitrogen for the plants. It is and more nutrient dense food and better
put more panels up, and leave them turned wonderfullycomplex. All we need to do diversity with endangered grassland
on longer. On the farm we need to look at as managers is to foster and enhance birds returningwhat value is
inter cropping, winter crops, poly cropping, plant cover and it will continue to get encompassed there that cannot be
etc to increase our harvest of solar energy. better. All of the living and dying of these quantified?
Plant spacing and diversity will largely billions of organisms is what ultimately
determine the size and density of the leaves sequesters carbon. Holistic Management helps you to make
and in turn how much solar capture is better decisions to achieve the goals that
available. We have the potential to capture Principle #4 Community Dynamics you have for yourself and your family.
solar energy from snowmelt to snow arrival Diversity is wonderful: the more the Along the way your operation should
(in Saskatchewan, thats approximately 220 better. It is not limited to what you plant; become more profitable and your
to 250 days). Most annual cropping systems diversity is also found in birds, insects, ecosystem more resilient.
capture solar energy for 70 days of the year. people, animals, and wild plants. There
If we are not capturing energy, our soil are synergies between species we do not Blain Hjertaas is a Certified Holistic Educator
health is declining. fully understand. The challenge becomes with Holistic Management International. He has
how do we grow diverse crops that we 15 years of practical experience using Holistic
Principle #2: Water Cycle can harvest mechanically. Poly cropping Management techniques running a 1000 acre
To make crops grow we need moisture. We grass operation in Saskatchewan, where they
and inter cropping are becoming new
also raise lamb, custom graze cows, and
cant control how much or when it rains but words to farmers as they learn how to put poultry. Blain offers consultations and
we do have total control as to whether the different types of crops together in their education on Holistic Management, how the
rainfall iseffective (goes into the soil) or not rotations to harvest the power of this environment functions and how our actions will
effective (runs off). To make the water cycle diversity. ultimately influence the ecosystem.

www.organicalberta.org 6
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Young Organic Farm Families


Growing Our Numbers

By Debbie Miller,Editor: Organic Alberta February attracted 445 participants, up


100% from the 222 who attended in 2016.
The numbers are in and they confirm The over 55 crowd was outnumbered with
what we at Organic Alberta have been 63% of attendees under the age of 54. And
suspecting all along. There has been a what were these participants most
massive increase in the number of interested in learning about? Top marks
certified organic operations over the last went to Regenerative Agriculture, Fatty
few years. In fact, it is a 48% increase! Acid Profiles, Growing Resilient Farms,
After years of holding our own, Carbon Sequestration and Carbon
fluctuating between 342 and 366 from Farming, and of course, Weed
2009 to 2014, we are checking in at 540 Management and Marketing. The trade
Organic Alberta operations for 2016! show and networking opportunities were
Much of this growth is happening in the also very much appreciated and enjoyed.
Mackenzie County region where we are
seeing a lot of new and young farmers The young trend continued with our
turning to organics. While most of the conference in La Crete. Of the 139 who
increase is made up of producers, we attended the weekend meetings, just 17%
were also very pleased to see that the had been farming organically more than
number of organic processors in the 10 years. 43% had been organic for less
province has increased by 10 since 2014 than 10 years, 29% were in transition and
up to 92. 17% were interested conventional
farmers.
To go with this increase in numbers, we
are also seeing a shift in demographics at This all bodes well for the future of
our recent events. Gone are the days agriculture in Alberta, and especially
when our conferences were filled with organic agriculture. A strong organic
grey hairs; they are being replaced by community makes it easier for us to
young, enthusiastic producers, many with continue to promote Prairie organic
young children in tow. products, maintaining and growing the
reputation and market share we currently
The 2017 joint Organic Alberta/Holistic have. Congratulations and welcome to all
Management conference in Lacombe last our new organic colleagues!

www.organicalberta.org 7
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Business Model Canvas:


Organic Fruit & Vegetable Grower

www.organicalberta.org 8
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

Business Model Canvas:


Organic Fruit & Vegetable Grower

ByCari Hartt: Communications creates value, like young families and farm and skilled labour. Key activities
Coordinator, Organic Alberta single professionals. Your value are things you need in order to perform
propositions are the bundle of products well, like a contingency plan in the case
The business model canvas, displayed on and services that create value for each of crop failure. Since you wont own all
page 8, is a one-page plan that helps you customer segment. For example, young key resources yourself, nor will you
easily visualize your overall operation. Its families are generally busy and looking perform all key activities, they key
a simple starting point that helps you to save time, and this business model partners are those who can help you
structure your thoughts and bring provides the value of time by selling leverage your business model, such as
together aspects of your business to feed canned and preserved fruits and
farmers' market associations that work
into your value proposition. It helps you vegetables. Channels describe the
to support local farmers. Finally, once
fail fast and recover even faster by touchpoints through which you interact
you understand your business models
allowing you to easily pivot and readjust with your customers, like newsletters or
infrastructure, you will have a better
pieces of your business model. We have advertisements. Revenue streams make
understanding of its cost structure and
created a sample canvas for an organic clear how and through which pricing
what costs will be incurred to operate,
fruit and vegetable farm to illustrate mechanisms your business model is
howthis method can benefit you in the capturing value, like a cookbook full of such as equipment purchasing and

planning stages of your business. recipes utilizing organic fruits and maintenance, and certification fees.
vegetables. The left side of the canvas
The canvas is broken into nine basic describes theinfrastructure you need to The canvas allows you to invent,
building blocks, which you fill out to create, deliver, and capture value. Key describe, discuss, design, and challenge
describe your overall plan. To begin, resources are the assets which are your business model, all in one image.
customer segments are the people or indispensable to your business model, To learn more about the business model
organizations for which your business and are required for your success, like a canvas, visit www.strategyzer.com

www.organicalberta.org 9
Summer 2017 Volume 09 Issue 02

5 Tips to Developing a Grazing System in Sync with Nature

By Bryan Weech Second, and just as amazing, are the 4. Use holistic grazing tools to
intertwined relationships between soil improve efficiency
This is a revised version of an article that appeared
in the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association nutrients, soil microbes and plant roots. Improving grazing management by
Newsletter Soil isnt just a medium to support plants. applying the principles of adaptive
Healthy soil is made up of highly complex holistic grazing leads to greater ranch
By 2050, the planets population is
symbiotic relationships between plants, sustainability and economic viability.
estimated to grow from the current 7
billion to more than 9 billion, while the microbes and sources of nutrients. Most leading ranches usearotational
amount of agricultural land is expected grazingsystem where grass is grazed
to shrink. Simply put, this means well Whats more, a healthy soil ecosystem is only when its ready. Utilizing a
need to produce more food with less one of earths primary carbon sinks. rotational grazing program that mimics
resources in order to feed the world. For the movements of the historic herds of
the beef industry to continue to be part herbivories is key to ranching in
These are truly miraculous processes that
of the solution, it must develop
make grazing possible, and give beef harmony with nature.
production systems that are more in line
to nature. production a unique sustainability and
competitive advantage. 5. Stop using your grandfather's
Beef can play an important role in forages; we have better genetics
providing the world a nutrient-dense Here are five tips to develop a sustainable available
food that is also sustainable. However, to grazing and forage system that is in sync Modern forage genetics provide
accomplish this, a beef production varieties of grass that are much better
with nature:
system must take advantage of key able to endure management intensive
components that can make it more
1. Calvewhen the grass is green grazing, with better yields, higher
sustainable, which can be defined as the
ability to produce beef in sync with Calving in harmony with green grass nutritional levels, and improved
nature. minimizes hay feeding, and can increase persistence. Stop using your
weaning rate and general herd health. In grandfathers forages many of the
Ranching in harmony with nature is one practical terms, this generally means grass varieties used in forage system
of the key strategies for decreasing the today are 50- to 70-year-old genetics,
calving around the same time as the local
impacts while increasing the profitability even though much better varieties are
populations of wild ruminants such as
and sustainability of beef production.
deer, elk or antelope. available.
Grazing management is key, and is the
single greatest sustainability advantage
beef production has to offer, which is the 2. Extend the grazing season to Grazing systems in sync with nature
ability of cattle to self-harvest a self decrease or eliminate feeding of rely on providing cattle within a high
renewing feed source, grass. purchased and harvested feeds forage system, which should include
This takes advantage of cattles ability to high quality forages to maintain
The ability of the beef production system efficient production. Ranching in
self-harvest grass, a renewable
to turn grass, a resource unpalatable to harmony with nature requires a
humans, into a nutrient-dense food is a feedstuff. This can be done by filling
forage gaps with grazable forages and by heightened reliance on well managed
unique competitive advantage that is yet
to be fully appreciated. For example, it applying changes in grazing grazing to fill the nutritional needs of
isnt a topic within the sustainability management, resulting in a tremendous the cowherd. The basis for the
discussion occurring among stakeholders positive effect on the bottom line. sustainability of the entire beef
looking for solutions to feeding a production system, is the capacity to
growing population while also tackling harvest grass, a renewable source of
3. Develop a cowherd that is capable of
climate change. Beef can do both because feed, and turn it into a nutrient dense
high reproduction efficiency on a
of two unique natural processes at the
forage-based system food. A ranch can contribute to the beef
heart of beef production and grazing.
Todays cattle genetics are not all the industrys sustainability by improving it
The first of these is photosynthesis, an same, and the genetics currently found in grazing management to be more in sync
amazing process within a plant (such as many cowherds are not capable of with nature.
grass) that turns water and carbon producing a marketable calf year after
dioxide (CO2) that the plant takes in from Weech is a consultant and adviser on
year within a high forage based system. sustainable agricultural projects. Contact
the air, into oxygen (O2), which the plant
Changing cowherd genetics to match a him: bryanweech@gmail.com. Source:
releases back into the air
andcarbohydrate(sugar) which the management strategy that is in sync with http://www.beefmagazine.com/pasture/5-tips-
nature is a critical consideration. develop-grazing-system-sync-nature
plant uses to supply its energy needs.

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