Category ArchiveSustainable Agriculture
When we purchased the 6000+ acres of ground in 2004, it had been over grazed for decades. Nothing but a sea of grass. The border of the Lake, a significant stopping point for migratory waterfowl, was seamless grass- no cover, no willows, no cattails.
Mark and I gave the land a year of rest, then started to manage grazing to keep livestock OFF the lake borders. $2000+ in materials, hours of permanent fence creation, and many more hours of erecting electric fence to control access to the Lake shore has born fruit.
The cattle stay within the borders of the water gap (you can see where the few willows within the gap have been avidly browsed by the visiting cattle), and the willows and trees keep growing around all borders of the Lake.
Migrating waterfowl and other birds LOVE the border zone! Coots and greebs use the submerged willows early in the summer as protective cover for themselves and their chicks. Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest by the hundreds in the willows at the shallow end of the Lake, suspending their pendulous nests safely above the muddy waters.
Many of us dislike glyphosate, found in RoundUp and other herbicides. One of the things it does is to block the absorption of MANGANESE from the soil. It blocks other minerals’ absorption also, but here’s some farming information about manganese that might be interesting to both farmers and livestock producers.
Manganese is high in the seed heads of grasses- livestock and humans need manganese to produce eggs and sperm. If we breed our Montana livestock back in July & August, when seeds are being produced by native grasses, we take advantage of naturally occurring higher levels of manganese in forages- for better breed back and pregnancy percentages!
“…Carbon determines the depth of the magnetic field across an acre of land. The next item of importance to maintenance of a basic electrical field is manganese. If manganese is not present, seeds will not sprout….Manganese is one of the heaviest elements essential for crop production…. It take at least 12 atoms of nitrogen to capture one of manganese. (hence the importance of adequate nitrogen in our soils! emphasis mine) Nitrate nitrogen is one of the main negatively charged elements in the soil, the other chief ones being calcium, atomic weight 40, and potassium, atomic weight 39.102…. If each calcium atom gave up all …units of energy, only four atoms would be required to capture one atom of manganese. No element will give up that much of itself, therefore a great many more than four will be required to capture that single atom of manganese. It may take as many as 15 or 20. If we have one pound of manganese per acre, it might take 500 pounds of calcium to serve up the energy needed to capture that manganese. A low test weight on a crop means that the soil was not working correctly to capture the necessary manganese. Certain symptoms can assist the farmer in reading the situation. If the soil is sticky, it may be so hungry the calcium can give up very little of its energy to capture the manganese. Soil that isn’t trying to grab the boot off your feet will give up calcium more readily.” p. 47
“Mainline Farming for Century 21” Dan Skow DVM & Charles Walters
Do any of us know that grains such as wheat, barley, etc, should have SOLID stems- indicating adequate calcium?
I always thought that wheat should have a hollow stem. That cool hollow tube of a wheat stem is actually an indicator of ill health and inadequate mineralization and an incomplete food for wheat’s consumers.
Kiril Sabo is our pastured poultry specialist at Sabo Ranch. He cares for our laying hens and ducks every morning before school or church- often in the dark!
His eggs feed our FAMILY, GROWING CHICKS, GROWING HOGS, and our ranch CATS and DOGS.
Devons have adapted beautifully to the high altitude, predator filled dry land pastures of the high mountain West.
Questions? Mark and Jenny Sabo, Harrison, MT 406-685-3248. firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a lot of debate these days about HEALTH CARE, when we are actually debating ILLNESS CARE, and usually CHRONIC illness care.
Mark and I discuss with visitors and friends the issue of cheap food equalling cheap nutrition all the time. Its just part of our lives now. I attend Weston Price meetings to learn, and also with my marketing hat on- so people who understand what we’re doing know that we exist.
Article after article, rancher after rancher these days, is looking for better gain in their cattle on fewer and fewer inputs.
As fuel costs rise, and hay, and gasoline to run a vehicle to check on cattle in the fields, we all need to find the solution for minimum input and maximum gain.
Devons can be the answer! “…recent studies at Oregon State University evaluated the impacts of temperament on gain performance, reproduction and health parameters…” and found that cattle with poor temperament negatively affected all the above parameters.
This is my first day on the Sabo Ranch and these are a few of my first impressions. Only some things are consistent. The cows and chickens need to be watched on a daily basis. The way in which the runts interact with the other animals effects the way the feeding is done. The overall rhythm of things is considerably consistent, every morning the cows and chickens are fed and checked on.
The family is very much just a family with a significant amount of chores that need to be done. Kiril (age six) and Riley (age nine) help, play or work all the time. Riley seems to know everything there is to know about his ranch. Kiril is still learning the way things work from his brother. Both boys have their own set of things to do around the house. Every evening someone goes out to the chicken coup to collect the eggs.
The family could not have been more welcoming or better teachers. I look forward to more days of work and learning with this kind family.
This slightly blurry photo, taken at dusk, shows a newly grazed, now resting area of pasture on the right, and a yet-ungrazed section on the left. We use these electric fence ribbons in much of our grazing management, allowing us to quickly graze, then rest, our pastures, allowing for maximum grass growth and pasture regeneration.
We only wanted the cows to graze the right hand portion, which they did over a two day period. This area is full of common tansy, a plant whose tea can cause abortions in humans.
However, it is also a natural cattle wormer, and high in calcium. Previous to this, the cows grazed sections of our hayfield (back portion of this photo), a mixture of grasses and clovers. Upon introduction to the “weedy” area here along the irrigation ditch, they consumed every tansy plant in sight.
Within several days, as they moved along the ditch, their tansy consumption was down to nearly nil. They had their fill, consumed the minerals and medicinals they needed, and passed back, free choice, to primarily grass consumption.