HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT

A value-based decision-making framework that helps me take account of social, economic and environmental considerations in all aspects of farm and domestic planning.

HOLISTIC GOAL

Stewardship of the land to create a successful, small scale, low input, regenerative and agriwilded farm  that contributes positively to the wider landscape and provides  delicious, nutritious food and a home for creatures

of many kinds.

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MY RESPONSIBILITY
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DECISION MAKING
holistic planned grazing

 

Planned grazing helps me maximise forage production and biodiversity, improve the health and wellbeing of my livestock and the soil, and utilise the nutrient cycle effectively.

 

This mimics the ancient movement of livestock across land - they bunched together in response to predator threat and moved together to new ground frequently for fresh grazing.

 The livestock leave behind a fertilised and well  trampled area, and return to it only when it is rested and regrown.

I use moveable solar-powered electric fencing for my livestock, with mobile water and shelter systems.  This means I can budget their daily ration, and I can also chose when to graze and when to rest different areas of land e.g. to suit ground-nesting birds or the seed-setting time of specific wildflowers.

This is a never-ending learning process, with the plan changing every year and being constantly adapted!

I'm part of the Mob Grazing Field Lab run by Soil Association Scotland - experimenting and sharing practice, results and advice, with a view to helping other farmers implement planned grazing schemes across Scotland.

MOB MOVE

The sheep love their grazing regime, excited for each day's new breakfast!

The geese are also part of the grazing team, being rotated around newly planted shelterbelts, hedges, windbreaks and silvopasture. We tried mob grazing them with smaller areas, moving them every couple of days, but they responded by nibbling young trees so we put them back on looser rotation grazing.  When the trees are big enough, the sheep will graze under them, and the geese will move through all the pasture near the sheep to help with fluke control and eat the docken seeds.

TALL GRASS GRAZING VIDEO

Hear more about the benefits and methods of planned grazing from my Field Lab friends and colleagues

why holistic management?

Farming is a vocation, something soul-stirring that I couldn't be without now that I've found it.  So much of what I do is done not for money - but for love of the land and my way of life, for taking joy in my more-than-human kin and the connection I feel to them, to the earth and my ancestors.  And I want to do the best I can for them all by ensuring that I always make considered decisions. 

But I have to make sure my farm is financially sustainable too otherwise I can't continue on this path. This is why holistic management also has specific financial guidance to plan profit, reduce expenses and make sure money is spent in the place that's most important in that moment - I love that these are equal and kept in balance.  This is the process of building a business that makes the most sense to me - I can constantly check it is in line with my ethics and community goals.

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© 2020 by Achpopuli Farm

Photos © Michael Mearns

Illustrations by Ione Maria Rojas

Achpopuli Farm

Abriachan

Inverness

achpopuli.farm@outlook.com

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