To feed the world, protect biodiversity and prevent land degradation, soil improvement will be one of the most critical shifts in agriculture. Ruminants, under the correct management, are essential – virtual fencing technology makes this possible.
In a previous article, we looked at the many benefits of virtual fencing for livestock farmers. Let's go a step further and see how virtual fencing technology can help you get started with regenerative agriculture practices.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that seeks to restore and improve the entire ecosystem of a farm instead of simply working it to the maximum yield.
It’s all about managing livestock and producing food in a way that improves rather than damages soil health. In regenerative agriculture, you work with nature, not against it. Farming in harmony with nature is better for people, animals and our planet.
Why regenerative agriculture?
The industrialisation of agriculture has led to land degradation worldwide. According to the UN, we have only 60 years of topsoil left to support agriculture at the current rate of degradation. Seven years have passed since that warning was issued.
Intensive, monoculture farming, which relies heavily on inputs such as chemicals, synthetics, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers, negatively impacts soil health and the wider ecosystem.
Regenerative agriculture can help turn the tide and bring us back in harmony with nature.
What does it take to get started with regenerative agriculture?
The hardest thing about moving towards regenerative agriculture can be the shift in mindset. But you don't have to do it all at once. Sometimes it's better to make small, consistent changes over time.
How can you begin transitioning to regenerative agriculture with minimal effort and cost? Firstly, integrate ruminant animals (cattle and sheep) if you have not already, secondly, seek to improve and optimise your grazing management.
Interested in regenerative agriculture at your farm? Request a quote!
Managed grazing – the key to transitioning towards regenerative agriculture practices
Managed grazing means regularly moving livestock to new pastures in a planned way, avoiding overgrazing and giving plants time to recover. This increases the productivity of pastures and livestock by working with the plant's natural growth pattern.
Traditionally, livestock are kept together in one large paddock and allowed to graze as they please for a long period of time. This is known as Set Stocking, which leads to the overgrazing of the most palatable plants while others are left ungrazed and allowed to set seed, increasing the pasture weed burden.
Due to this overgrazing, the plants are damaged, soil is left exposed and productivity declines. This means more expense and lower profits for you, the farmer.
How does managed grazing help you begin a journey towards regenerative agriculture? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the grazing management method called Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing (AMP).
An Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing strategy is one of the first steps
Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing, also known as Rotational Grazing, is considered one of the most regenerative systems for grazing livestock. Livestock is managed to mimic the constantly moving herds of herbivores that once grazed the prairies. It is achieved by grazing an area (paddock) within 1-3 days, then moving the animals on to give the plants a sufficient rest period (24-60 days during the growing season) to allow them to fully recover before the next grazing event.
The question is, how is adaptive multi-paddock grazing done without you having to spend a lot of time moving electric fences?
Here is where virtual fencing technology comes in.
Virtual fencing technology enables adaptive multi-paddock grazing
Regenerative farming practices will require you to move animals more often. With virtual fencing technology, this can be achieved both with more flexibility and with significantly less labour.
- Create virtual paddocks of any size to match the feed on offer with animal requirements and to quickly adjust area grazed per day to match plant recovery.
- Review grazing history on the app, view the areas last grazed and grazing intensity within the block of land.
- Design virtual paddocks with up to 30 points to allow access to shade and shelter within the grazing area.
- Use virtual fencing to protect waterways, environmental areas or crops, thus allowing animals access to new grazing areas including crop land.
- Set-up automated paddock moves at a predefined time from the comfort of your own home to optimise animal nutrition..
- Animal behaviour and welfare monitored 24/7 with targeted alerts sent to your phone.
This makes virtual fencing technology the ideal enabling tool for you to begin your journey into regenerative agriculture.
Virtual fencing technology is an ideal transitional tool for farmers who are ready to move towards regenerative agriculture practices. It allows you to perform Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing, which increases pasture productivity and improves soil health.
With virtual fencing technology, you can easily move the animals to new pastures regularly without the need to move fences. It also provides you with the tools to plan your grazing, ensuring plants are allowed to recover and animals always have access to the optimum amount of forage. The collars worn by the animals constantly monitor their behaviour, providing you with useful insights and peace of mind.