I am trying to make some sense of a new book by Geore Monbiot’s, Regenesis and this link which is an article on pasture raised beef being the most damaging of farm products.
As I write this I would hate for my forefathers to think i am belittling their way of farming because i am not, they were great farmers following a system that was rewarding them for growing as much as they could and supporting the nation. I like to think we farm for the future, I have 3 children and spend a lot of my time thinking about ways to reduce global warming and improve their future. I believe the way in which we farm sequesters carbon. I am continually learning and reading about the subject and through my experience over the last 20 years I can honestly say I have seen dramatic changes across the land and within the soil. A lot of the farm was a planted monoculture of arable crops and rye grass, the junk food of grazing as full of sugar. For decades it was fertilised with nitrogen and mowed 3 or 4 times a year to make silage for the milking herd. Then continuous cropping was the thing stripping the humus and fertility from the soil. Now we are organic regenerative farmers registered additionally with the Pasture for life and Greener World Association, I understand about rewilding and am doing elements of that across our land. However grass that is left at full height, not grazed or cut goes to sleep and with no livestock there would be a low turnover of organic matter meaning less carbon into the soil. We have started doing mob grazing or holistic grazing approach where cattle are moved daily onto new grass and mimic the way wild herds would have travelled and ultimately speed up grass growth. This increased cycle of grazing and cow manure quickly sequesters carbon and increases biodiversity. This is opposite to some of George Monbiot comments and reviews, he writes that holistic beef doesn’t yield enough beef per hectare, but it 100% yields higher biodiversity, wildlife creation, soil health and increased infiltration of water.
I am questioning why Cattle and the methane they produce are often seen as Public Enemy Number One. They should not be at all and I feel really upset as not all grazing systems are equal. If managed well cows can play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by performing the same functions as the natural herbivores that once roamed and grazed the planet. They can help build soil and lock in carbon as well as being an important part of our pastoral culture.
If you dont have time to read the entire book by George, I have included a more precise reflection of the book in question written by Simon Fairlie who assesses the farm-free future of humanity with great aplomb.
Lets hope that any aspiration to replace all meat with lab-based or cellular meat is fantasy land.
Go well folks.