Holistic Farm Management

Author: Centroc User
Date: December 15, 2011
Category: Archives, Farming & Agriculture, Industry & Business

A three day course in Holistic Farm Management will be run at the Railway Hotel in Condobolin January 23 – 25. The course will be conducted by a private company called Holistic Results which aims to provide farmers with the knowledge and tools to simplify their operations, decrease reliance on inputs and restore their land.

“People will leave our course able to determine for themselves what constitutes sustainability in their unique circumstance,” explains General Manager of Holistic Results, David Ward.  “No business is sustainable unless they are sound in both the short and long term: financially, socially and ecologically.  There is only one issue, and that is how, farm by farm, the decision makers are able to identify what constitutes short and long term sustainability in their unique situation.”

Founder of Holistic Results, Bruce Ward

Holistic Results was founded by David’s parents Bruce and Suzie Ward in 1987. Bruce, who came from a cotton farming background, was concerned about the large numbers of “good people” leaving the land with farming businesses that were no longer profitable.

Bruce says one of the most commonly asked questions concerns the difference between rotational grazing and holistic management.

“Initially, rotational grazing somewhat eased the over-grazing damage and many plants initially thrived with more recovery than they were used to,” he says.  “The big problem however, was that speed of moves through the paddocks was still too fast.  In the first year, things were pretty good, and certainly far better than set-stocked.  In the second year plant deaths were occurring, but in the absence of detailed monitoring their loss was not noticed.  In the third year though, a great many plants suddenly ran out of root energy and died of over-grazing.  Productivity declined, and the whole thing (rotational grazing) was abandoned.”

“Whilst from a distance holistic grazing planning may look like rotational grazing, the key difference is that word: planning.  Holistic managers plan and achieve their outcomes – financially, environmentally and socially.  That is not the stated objective of rotational grazing.”

The company describes its methods as “agnostic”, that is to say they do not dictate a particular way things must be carried out. For example, they do not advocate organic farming over traditional methods, rather they believe farmers should decide what methods are best to achieve their individual goals.

When it comes to controversial issues such as Climate Change, Holistic Results are practical and pragmatic in their approach.

Bruce Ward running a Holistic Farming seminar

“We hold open the distinct possibility that global climate change is upon us,” explains David.  “We believe that apart from being a moral position, it is also pragmatic.  To deny the possibility of climate change assumes absolute certainty of one’s position.  If the position turns out to be incorrect, the risk might include the loss of billions of lives.  Most importantly though, we believe that properly managed livestock will play a crucial role when a genuine solution is developed.”

The three day Holistic Management course in Condobolin costs $850 ($725 if booked before December 23) and will cover the following topics:

  • Detailed understanding of the four ecosystem processes (water cycle, mineral cycle, biological succession and solar energy flow) that determine the profitability of your property
  • Using the tools that manipulate them – to your advantage
  • Knowing the special relationship between land, animals and plants
  • Full training in all aspects of holistic grazing planning
  • Learning how to authentically ‘pay yourself first’

For more information on the course, follow the link below

http://www.holisticresults.com.au/your-resources/holistic-results-training-courses

Some other interesting links:

www.soilcarbon.com.au

www.savoryinstitute.com

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