Grazing Management

Cooperation with Animals

Correct grazing management can help to heal the global water situation. Animals are cooperation partners for the regeneration of our planet. The first attempts to work in this way together with horses and pigs in Tamera have shown very promising results.

40% of the Earth's landmass consists of grassland. The disappearance of the large herds of wild herbivores, combined with poor agricultural grazing habits over large parts of this immense area have led to the disruption of the cycles of growth and decomposition. Grass which is not eaten becomes dry and oxidises, but does not compost. Beside increasing the risk of fire, this process also reduces the quality and water retention capacity of the soil. The hydrological cycle suffers lasting damage and large areas of steppe become desert.

Sound grazing management in cooperation with animals can halt and reverse this process.

The American scientist Alan Savory observed the behaviour of roaming herds of animals and their effect on the grassland. He saw that short periods of intense grazing increased humus production and improved the soil quality.

Based on his observations, Savory and his team developed a grazing management technique that comes close to this natural behaviour. The method of Holistic Planned Grazing allows animals to graze intensively, but not too long in any one place. A basic guideline is that one third of the grass in a particular area should be eaten, one third trampled underfoot by the animals, and one third left standing. Then the animals should move on.

The results are clear. Within a short time, areas of land which were tending to become steppe revert to good quality grassland. Previously dry springs start to flow again and there is water in the streams.

Tamera aims to show that these methods are applicable in Portugal and that livestock farmers who change their grazing practices can quickly help to rescue the Alentejo from desertification.