WELL, actually, the Best Environmentalist is any herding/grass eating animal…
October 9, 2018 Louisa Kiely
The cow is an easily understood animal – or should I say misunderstood animal?
After all, if we all eat no meat, we’ll have less emissions from those dastardly cow ‘methane machines’, and those dreadful hoofs will stop degrading the land, right?
Now I know there are many people reading this that could easily make the argument FOR the hoofed beasts being ‘Designers of Carbon Farming Agriculture Landscapes’ – so apologies to all RCS, HRM trained people and other advanced Carbon Farmers!
So, driving along the roads and we see many poor ‘grass eating machines’ – there is no grass – and their hoofs are making the ground bare. It’s a desert! See, these cattle and sheep are terrible, right?
BUT, what if we managed them differently?
What if we mimicked nature more along the lines of the great grass eating herds – you’ve seen them on TV, The Zebra, the Bison, etc. They move around. When the grass is plentiful, they come and eat, poo, wee, fight, procreate, and give birth – all very messy stuff – then they move on.
They leave behind a perfectly fertilised very large ‘paddock’ – and then the paddock is rested – because they leave. Usually until the next Spring – when the fertilised grasses have recovered, the roots have taken the carbon down into the soils to feed the microbes which have, in return, scavenged the nutrients the plants need and fed them back up the roots to the leaves! Ready to be ‘harvested’ again.
Well, thanks to visionaries like Alan Savory and others, those trained in these methods have come to set up their farms and water to mimic these effects.
Many have turned their affairs around from near disaster to profitability. Such ‘holistic’ carbon farmers tend to go into drought later and come out of drought sooner due to the improved water holding capacity and soil structure of their carbon enriched soils. Of course, there are other activities making up their whole farm. AND seasons will influence also.
So, as usual, the truth is far from what you might see on the surface…
Without grass eating animals, grasses cannot function the way nature intended – they evolved together!
Grasses need to be ‘trimmed’ to keep growing well, as many good gardeners understand. But when mismanaged, the grasses can be eaten too low, and they have no energy reserves to grow back and they die.
Therefore, the Best Environmentalist I know is a COW (or other grass eating animal).
And far from being the destroyers of the landscape they CAN be the re-generators.
Managed appropriately they can assist to take carbon back into soils and now there is a Carbon Market to reward this. And of course, they are hugely important food and clothing sources.
Imagine your marketing potential (on receiving a carbon credit for improved soil carbon or methane reduction)… “Congratulations, as you eat this steak, you are cooling the Planet, improving the soils, and ensuring your children’s future. Enjoy!”
BTW: I received this fantastic piece from a subscriber from India. Read another great interpretation on Cows being Environmentalists. From those that use them differently!
To recap on previous newsletters, so far we know:
- The warming drying trend is continuing. We’ll need more shade/shelter and soils which can show resilience to this…
- Photosynthesis from trees and plants is the only known and available way to take out the ‘legacy load’ – that CO2e which was released many years ago – and store it safely in trees and the soil…
- And as we do this, we get more trees for shade and shelter, the soil water holding capacity increases and productivity can increase…
- Now we know that our grass eating animals can HELP in this process – they are our ‘carbon increasing infrastructure’ machines – when used appropriately.