Permaculture Tip of the Day – Winter Livestock Grazing & Feeding

In an agricultural system that is built with organic fertilization, grass fed animals, abundance, and nutrition at the forefront of thinking, then we will, on most occasions design a system that moves grazing and herding animals in a paddock/cell shifting way. Whether it be rotational, rational, or other grazing type, a problem occurs in regions that have a long frost period. In temperate and arid climate zones, often there are seasons of freeze where it is too cold to grow grasses for livestock. Tree and shrub browsing is an extremely under utilized feeding regimen (goats love, I mean love, ligustrum/privet). However, these periods of frost can also be looked at as nature’s time stamp for culling and slaughter to reduce the needs of the farm and resources.
A very reliable feeding regime is to grow grasses and grains (such as ryegrasses and barleys) over the spring and fall (brassicas such as kales and canola can be grown in fall for fodder) in the paddocks/cells that are not utilized for grazing and store the grasses and grains for winter feeding. It is wise to shed the animals or at minimum bring them into a place of comfort with protection from the elements, especially from above,  until the frost recedes.

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