There is a lot of talk about regenerative ranching, but what does it actually mean? Regenerative ranching is an approach to agriculture that mimics nature. It focuses on four pillars: correct calving season, adaptive genetics, high stock density, and corrective supplementation. This approach can be used for beef cattle production, dairy cows, pigs, sheep, and other livestock. Jaime Elizondo and Johann Zietsman are two of the foremost experts in regenerative ranching. If you're interested in learning more about regenerative ranching, their Youtube course called Sustainable Ranching is a must.
The first pillar of regenerative ranching is the correct calving season. The calving season should be in sync with nature. In a Mediterranean climate, that means calving in the spring when the grass is greenest. This ensures that the mother's milk is the most nutritious for the calves and that the momma cow is in the best body condition to reconceive the next year.
The second pillar is adaptive genetics. This means choosing animal breeds that are best suited for your climate and management style. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to regenerative ranching. You have to choose the right genetics for your specific operation.
The third pillar is high stock density. This means having a higher stocking rate than what is traditionally used in regenerative ranching. The reason for this is that grazing animals mimic the actions of wild herds. When animals are packed closely together, they will naturally trample down vegetation, which helps to build soil organic matter.
The fourth and final pillar is corrective supplementation. This means supplementing your animals with minerals and vitamins that they may be lacking in their diet. This is important because it helps to prevent disease and ensures that the animals are getting all the nutrients they need. When animals were grazing in large herds they were able to travel for their minerals to different areas across vast open landscapes. Now we have to ensure the animals get those minerals from the confines of our ranch.
These are the four pillars of regenerative ranching. If you're interested in regenerative agriculture, these are the foundation that you need to start with. regenerative ranching is a holistic approach to agriculture that can have many benefits for the land, the animals, and the people involved.
If you're new to regenerative ranching, it can seem like a lot to take in. But don't worry, it's not as complicated as it seems. Just start with the basics and build from there. The most important thing is to get started and to keep learning. regenerative ranching is a journey, not a destination. There is always more to learn and new ways to improve your operation. So, what are you waiting for? Start your regenerative ranching journey today!