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How is regenerative agriculture connected to holistic management?

How is regenerative agriculture connected to holistic management?

Regenerative agriculture and holistic management have several important connections. It is arguable that the key principles associated with regenerative agriculture can be traced back to Allan Savory’s work in holistic management.

From Farming Animals to Becoming a Grass Farmer

Savory’s great insight that animals are tools for managing the landscape, means that producers change their focus to become ‘grass farmers’, integrating animals into their programs to keep paddocks healthy. The concept of ‘grass farming’ extends to crop production systems as most cash crops are essentially grasses. You can watch this 6 minute YouTube video for an illustration of this concept in action.

Intensive Grazing

The key rule of thumb for grazing is that the number of animals is not as important as the time they spend grazing on a parcel of land. The grazing time is determined by the feed available and the soil condition. Animals stimulate the soil biology and accelerate plant growth when managed correctly. The techniques reflecting this insight are known as “Crash Grazing” or “Intensive Grazing”. Using grazing charts and low-stress animal handling practices, land managers learn to monitor and control the impact animals have on their paddocks.

Market Opportunities

The shift of focus to grass farming has also led to breakthrough changes for farmers to connect with the selling and buying of stock. When looked at through the lens of soil and grass health, rigid habits make way for a more agile relationship with the environmental conditions and market opportunities.


With the focus on growing grass, biodiversity of plants and biodiversity of flora and fauna below the ground become of paramount importance. Using animals to stimulate soil fertility goes hand in hand with one of the core principles of Regenerative Agriculture – biodiversity.

Minimum Soil Disturbance

The more the soil is disturbed, the more carbon and water is lost to the atmosphere. Cover cropping, pasture cropping, intercropping and managed animal grazing is a natural way to control unwanted plants. These practices also stimulate plant and microbial growth by leaving living roots in the soil, year-round.

Recharging Waterways

Problems caused by nutrient export into the waterways of Western Australia can be addressed by increasing soil microbial activity, plant diversity and carbon capture. A 1% increase in soil organic matter increases the soil’s ability to hold water by 140,000 litres over a hectare. By supporting natural functions there can be less need for chemical and fertiliser inputs and less water run-off.

Return To Balance

The land manager’s role is to observe the whole and bring to the fore what is needed when the time is right: to create balance, so all ecosystem functions work within one harmonious system.

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