Report Synopsis

Grazing Ruminants: A Long-Term Solution to Agriculture Profitability, Productivity and Climate Change

Ryan Boyd

Grazing ruminants are an integral part of the long-term success of agriculture production systems. It was grazing ruminants that allowed the deep rich topsoil of the prairies around the world to develop as they migrated across the landscape in concert with a plethora of diversity. The inclusion of grazing ruminants allow diversity to exist on the farm that is unparalleled by any other agriculture production system. It is this diversity in plants and animals that allows soil microbes to thrive sequestering carbon, creating a resilient farming system that can withstand weather extremes and mute pest outbreaks. A more circular farming system is created when grazing ruminants are the focus. Less external costs are realized as water is used effectively and efficiently, nutrients stay on farm and habitat is created and conserved as insects, birds and wildlife thrive in concert with the grazing animals. Beef cattle can add value to the by-products of grain production and can serve as the source of soil fertility for highly productive agriculture systems.

Non-selective, ultra high stock density grazing provides an opportunity to create a profitable enterprise grazing perennial forage while dramatically enhancing the soil and the landscape. To get the most benefit from grazing ruminants, effective water management is critical, including maximizing water infiltration and water retention on the landscape. In addition to a growing demand for these outcomes, pasture raised meats can be marketed and sold within local markets.

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