Big Picture, Little Pasture

It happened yesterday that i got a chance to tag along on an aerial adventure with my photographer friend Carl, who does this sort of thing occasionally. We flew in a C-182 (the exact make and model of my old plane CGHRN, as it happens!), and as the flight path was westward out of Alvor (right on the E bank of river estuary that is the E boundary of Quinta do Vale da Lama), i got a fantastic birds-eye view of our land. I took a bunch of pictures, some of which i would even call beautiful -expect to see some of those here soon as i get more time for processing- but here is “the money shot” that is worth much more than 1k words right now:


May not look like much to anybody else… But this is the picture that gives me reason to believe that we are on the right track with this Planned Grazing thing that we’ve been experimenting with in this little paddock on the farm, where we’ve got 7 chickens following 1 donkey around in quite a tight formation. If you squint real hard at this pic, you can sorta make out both chicken tractor and donkey… But what you can’t help but notice is the lush green grass, much of it perennial, that is already growing on the parts those animals grazed first, starting at E extreme of pasture along the road, and working W (i.e. left) from there. Of course the land looks worse as you get closer to where the animals were the day before -just look for the barest ground!- but the thing this proves is that, so long as you keep those animals moving and don’t let them go back for a second bite until grass is tall again, you will see the grass come back stronger than ever much quicker than you might believe possible.

If you don’t believe me about that, then check these B&A pics from the land down-under:  that is “BigPinePaddock” in both 2007 & 2008, courtesy of Darren Doherty who shared them on a course we ran with him back in autumn of 2011:

2007.02-bigPinePaddock 2008.12-bigPinePaddock

And if you *still* don’t believe -or even if you do- you must see the TED Talk Allan Savory did back in February if this year, if you haven’t already done; when it comes to Holistic Management and this Planned Grazing aspect of it, he is “the man with the plan,” so listen up! 🙂