Holistic Management is an animal and land management practice that mimics nature to benefit both grazing stock and biodiversity. Graziers across the world have discovered that they can increase production of their herds while also improving water and mineral cycles of environments under a Holistic Management regime. Pioneered by Allan Savory more than 40 years ago, it offers land stewards a way to make grazing, land management and financial decisions that positively impact land health and productivity. This type of grazing management is now considered to be the single most beneficial technique for restoring both profits and biodiversity to independent grazing operations.
Holistic Animal Management is a planned grazing system, where large herds of animals are grazed in a certain area for a certain amount of time. To allow an even amount of grazing over the whole area to a optimal plant height, to allow the plant easy recovery and expansion. Overgrazing is a function of mis-managed grazing time, NOT animal numbers. Damage occurs when the plant is trying to grow but an animal keeps eating it again. If a plant doesn’t have enough green leaves it can only continue to grow from energy stored in their roots. When this is exhausted, the plant will die. Damage to soil structure quickly follows.
Holistic Animal Management embraces and honors the complexity of nature, and uses nature’s models of wild herds crossing the plains, pushed by predators, to bring practical approaches to land management, and restoration. Especially the use of different herds and animal species brings a multitude of advantages from naturally balanced parasite control to all plant species being eaten and a variety of nutrients entering the ground.
The planning procedures embedded in the Holistic Management approach are designed to incorporate this complexity and work with it. It does take time, skills and discipline to use this decision-making framework successfully – but the economic, environmental and social benefits are enormous.
Understanding the relationship between grazing animals and the land is an important concept in Holistic Management, but it is much more than a grazing system. Because Holistic Management is such a versatile management and decision making system it can truly be applied in all aspects of life.