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.
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.
I want to live in a landscape that is beautiful and abundant and full of diverse life, with clean air and water and healthy ecosystems providing healthy food and secure habitats for all its inhabitants. So I must do everything I can to achieve this vision, both as a farmer and a consumer - which can be challenging, but impactful!
Every decision I make should help me work towards my holistic goal, which means I must never lose sight of what is important to me and get sidetracked by greed or the agendas of others. A glitch may occur that makes me veer away from my goal temporarily - but this should be corrected as soon as possible, with the lesson learned for the future.
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.
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.