The concept of rotational grazing has been around for so long now (but only about 60 years really) that we take it for granted.
It is ‘just’ the way we do things at the on farm level, and there’s no question that this is the best way to manage the ryegrass/clover mix that makes up a majority of our pastures.
However, the ‘just’ hides a hell of a lot of applied science, and incremental increases in knowledge that resulted in a graze, rest, graze, rest….. method of management, and as importantly, tying it all in in a systemised approach.
(As an aside, this is how wild animals/nature manages the Serengeti Plains. Lush new grazing is inundated with animals, which move onto new grazing as it grows, allowing the old growth time to replenish).
Rotational grazing, as opposed to set-stocking, was a big breakthrough.
So, imagine if back in the 1950s, as our extremely talented (and nationally known) agricultural scientists were getting their heads around the ‘graze, rest’ style of pasture management, they realised what it was going to mean.
Do you think for a moment they would’ve hesitated to give it a name if they’d realised the multi-dimensional beast they were creating?
If, landing from another planet they’d descended straight into the technology, they would’ve been sure to have done so.
But, much as a frog placed in a pot of water with an ever increasing temperature doesn’t jump out, being so tied up in tweaking and re-tweaking the pastoral system, nobody thought to give it a handle.
There was a time when our grazing (including extensive use of greater paddock subdivision) was known as the McMeeken Method. Those in farming knew exactly what this meant.
With time, this moniker faded away.
However, it still doesn’t get around the fact that, especially and most importantly, there is no descriptor from a CONSUMER point of view. As the people who ultimately pay our agriculture’s way, they are who we need to engage with.
The story of how a lamb chop or steak (or even mince) is nurtured into life is a fantastic one (and for many people, especially those with discretionary income, several cuts above a feedlot yarn).
But, we’ve never named that story.
Until we do we’re undifferentiated.
The moment we did call our pastoral method (= responsible pastoralism) something, then an entire linkage from R&D, to the entire and wider agribusiness sector to the consumer would have a place to start.
We would give ourselves a common strategy – that mythical beast that has been talked about as being required for the past 40 years, but never cracked.
Sounds too simple…..which is probably why some people think it is impossible or crazy.
Or maybe not.