Modern ideas say that when land has been overgrazed that it requires a long rest period to recover. But what we’re actually seeing is that long rest periods actually cause desertification. What is rejuvenating to the land is proper grazing of large groups of herbivores, contrary to modern thinking.
Here are two short videos on our homestead, one a month ago and one this morning. The alley way is a heavy use area with the water and salt station. During the grazing season when the cattle are in this area there is very little vegetation and a lot of mud. The rested area has always performed poorly.
This video is from March 20 – Use vs Rest
This video is from April 16
In another area we have similar conditions and no volume of watering in the summer months has ensured grass growth. We were puzzled as to what was going on there and we assumed that the blue clay was at the surface in those locations and causing the grass roots to dry out, even in spite of our watering attempts. However, when we planted tress on that nole we discovered that the area is actually deep with sand. Sand! We would have never expected to find sand here. But like this location, that area has little to no topsoil and I spread a few bales of straw there as well. See this video for a description of that location.
I have spread the barley straw bales around these two locations concentrating on the areas with the least ground cover and ensuring that any manure is also covered. In a few months we’ll see how the areas are responding and if the straw cover helps to develop a bit of better soil and vegetation in those spots. I do still intend to move the animals through this area at least twice this grazing season and there currently there is a mating pair of geese that are investigating this little nole for a nesting spot. We’ll see how that goes.