OUR PRINCIPLES GUIDE OUR PRACTICES
Soil health is our goal and that drives our decisions.
These 6 principles of soil health don't dictate what to do, but WHY. We believe that our practices will yield both ecological and economic viability.
1. KNOW YOUR CONTEXT
Our ranch is at 6,500 ft in elevation, with 17 inches of precipitation, winter conditions for 4-6 months of the year. We are 3 ranchers from 3 backgrounds and currently have other jobs but believe our practices are ecologically and economically viable. These factors and more change ranch to ranch and effect how we apply the other principles.
2. KEEP THE GROUND COVERED
When there is bare dirt there is erosion from wind and water and surface temperatures are hotter so plant growth is greatly compromised. We use adaptive grazing, bale grazing, and cover crops to help ensure we keep the soil clothed and protected.
3. KEEP LIVING ROOTS IN THE SOIL AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
There are more organisms in a handful of healthy soil than humans alive today. The soil system is complex, but it can't operate properly without living plants and roots that exchange carbon for nutrients. A pasture with diverse plant species will allow for plants to grow at different times in the year. Roots are also one of the fastest paths for water to infiltrate.
4. MINIMAL CHEMICAL AND MECHANICAL DISTURBANCE
Most chemicals are used to make up for unhealthy soil and focuses on yield while mechanical disturbance shows up most often as a till that rips up soil and resets the soil system going on under the surface. We do not use fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides and we use a no-till drill get seeds in the soil and leaves only small lines.
Nature does not operate in a monoculture. A diversity of plants, animals and microorganisms produce a more resilient ecosystem. Holistic Management acknowledges the interconnection of an environment.
6. ANIMAL IMPACT
This is why we are Land AND Livestock. We manage our cattle and chickens so they can graze an area, fertilize it (manure, urine, saliva), disturb it, and then move on. Allowing a plant to fully recover ensures deep roots, maximum carbon captured and more forage for next time.