By Will Robinson
Green Piece Thinking is a fully integrated and multifaceted approach to regenerate a piece of land into a “Green Piece” with bio-diversity to protect the soil from further degradation. In this context regeneration refers to the recreation of a cool moist soil carbon sponge that absorbs and holds considerably more moisture to cool the earth and improve soil microbiology. Grass and Soil Carbon are essential components in the process to restore lower soil temperatures that will support high levels of soil microbiology to support grass growth. Land Stewardship and Management Systems that enhance grass and its root growth are compulsory – not Optional Actions to achieve a Moist Soil Carbon Sponge.
In Livestock Production proof of high growth rates in cattle, along with early weaned calves assist immensely towards a Grass Positive System through lower grass requirements. Use of high NPN Supplements is usually Grass Negative and counter-productive to soil carbon. For many years high NPN licks have been used as a cheap option to “milk off the cow’s back” and “milk carbon off the paddock’s back” which have resulted in environmental degradation of grassland through increased grass requirements. Reversing this trend is relatively simple – but there are cases of considerable long-term historical damage. High energy Supplements have considerable grass substitution potential to save carbon, with the benefit of increased growth rates in young growing cattle from 0.30 kg to 0.90 kg/day and simultaneously improving soil fertility with nutrient recycling.
Green Piece 12 Point to Do List:
• Plan to Creep Feed Calves for Rumen Development to grow their rumen surface area
• Plan to wean calves at 120 days on to High Energy Feed to protect Breeder BCS
• Plan to feed 1 to 2 kgs of High Energy Feed per day to weaned calves
• Plan a “120 Day Lactating Cow/240 Day Dry Cow Balance” to protect BCS
• Plan high calving % via improved BCS using less grass and land producing more calves
• Plan High Energy Supplements with protein to Breeders rather than NPN options
• Plan Rotational Graze/Rotational Rest in summer to increase sward and root vigour
• Plan increased soil carbon with increased water infiltration and reduced runoff
• Plan increased soil cover to protect the soil heating which kills valuable soil microbes
• Plan – always – for a Grass Positive direction and momentum to improve the land.
• Plan to create Healthy Soils to grow healthy crops and healthy livestock
• Use sunshine with a Moist Soil Carbon Sponge to generate New Solar Dollars.
Featured Image provided by African Breeders Services TCM (Private) Limited Kenya