Farm Table says:
This article from RCS’s Terry McCosker explains the RCS Regenerative Grazing Principles in plain English.
- Plan, Monitor and Manage: It’s pretty simple really – have a plan, monitor against that plan and manage/change things as you need to along the way. One of the primary tools for staying on top of this is the grazing chart. If you elect to operate a more intensive grazing system without one of these, you are flying by the seat of your pants. They are an invaluable management tool.
- Control of time is adjusted to suit the growth rates of the plant: This is all about doing our best to increase the proportion of phase 2 leaf in the paddocks. It’s about allowing them to recover after grazing and not keeping them in phase 1 with minimal yield and shallow root systems. It is also about not letting them rest too long and go to phase 3 (lignification). How people do this is very different for clients in the NT vs those in Victoria.
- Matching stocking rate to carrying capacity: It is appalling how often these two terms are interchanged as if they mean the same thing. They don’t! This would contribute to the fact that as an industry, we do a very poor job implementing this principle (with the exception of those reading this article, I’m sure). Carrying capacity is what grows up in response to moisture, temperature etc. Stocking rate is the number of LSU or DSE we are running.
- Manage livestock effectively: This one is all about animal performance. It covers animal husbandry, stock handling and education, nutrition, water quality and quantity, distance walked to water/feed, gross margins etc. This is the part where we convert plants into kgs of protein and then money.
- Maximum stock density for minimum time: This principle is the horsepower for rapid changes in a system. When used as a tool in conjunction with the first four principles, it is really powerful. If used by itself, it can cause some major issues.
- Use diversity of plants and animals to improve the ecosystem: Do you want to eat celery for breakfast, lunch and dinner? No, neither does any other organism! Diversity gives us resilience.