Hot days and de-stocking
Yesterday our fresh Grassland Poultry Sommerlad chooks arrived (shown here hanging out in the shade and illustrating the genetic diversity in the flock) and it was also VERY HOT. The fourth consecutive, record-breaking 30 degree plus day in September.
Which made us feel very grateful for the growing number of farmers practicing regenerative land management to mitigate against the impacts of extreme weather and global warming. Like de-stocking (reducing animals on the farm) in anticipation of a dry summer.
Grassland Poultry's Kim and Bryan Kiss, who also run cattle alongside their award-winning chickens at their farm, 'Meramie', near Wellington, started de-stocking a few months ago in a bid to 'match mouths to grass'.
As Kim and Bryan say, 'looking after our soils and landscapes is everything'.
De-stocking requires constant, highly sensitive assessment of the landscape to monitor conditions and take action before there's unacceptable stress on any part of the system - animals, landscape and farmer. The sort of attention to detail that just isn't possible within most conventional agricultural practices which are increasingly automated and removed from natural rhythms.
It's counter-intuitive if you look at the world from an extractive perspective dominated by the push for growth and profit. The less animals you have on the ground, the less money you'll make. Like rotating stock out of a paddock and leaving enough feed to protect the soil and provide organic matter, an investment in resilience and pasture fertility which mystifies many farmers who consider this to be 'leaving money in the paddock'.
But if your approach is eco-centric and future-focussed and your goal is a well-balanced, resilient ecosystem that delivers long-term health for all living things (including the farmer's bank balance) then these strategies makes total sense.
Once again, we thank all the farmers who make these choices on behalf of all of us. The more support we give them, the better for all of us.