Moving to perennial grasses in Idaho's Lower Salmon River country

WHITE BIRD, IDAHO, U.S.A. -- For generations, the lower Salmon River country around here has been subject to invasions of weeds. First there was cheatgrass. In the late 1940s, goatweed (also known as St. John's wort or Klamath weed) began to take over to the extent that many people thought ranching was over. The introduction of a beetle stabilized that weed population.

Using nature's forces to reclaim deteriorating land

Good management can create rapid recovery of severely desertified land without use of fertilizers, artificial plantings, or irrigation by harnessing a cost-effective biological force: livestock. Here on Kachana we use the cattle that damaged our land to heal it.


Restoring South Africa's desertified Karoo

Summary: Three related stories by three South African holistic managers. Introduction to the Karoo and its surprising history, restoring grass to a family farm from 1973 to present, and restoring an area with zero carrying capacity.

The Karoo

Improving a small acreage with three horses

Peter Donovan
Dick Knox

Dick Knox looks at small oak seedlings where he and Diane have controlled the time the horses are allowed to graze.

Natural lawn mowers

Cindy Dvergsten

Water absorption in grazed and rested pastures

Summary: Pasture grazed and then allowed to rest 5 weeks showed better water infiltration than pasture rested either for shorter periods or for a year.

These are the results of a test I did in 21 June of 1997. A flash rain went through an area where I had four pastures of similar topography and soil. We got 2" (50 mm) of rain in 30 minutes.

BLM rents cattle for mine restoration

In a pioneering experiment in federal land management, a Bureau of Land Management team out of Baker City, Oregon has contracted with cattle ranchers to provide hoof action and organic matter to help restore an open-pit mine site to productivity. The hope is that 200 cows, temporary electric fencing to concentrate the animals, a water system, 130 tons of grass hay, over 40 tons of straw, and seeding with native grasses, forbs, and shrubs will create results that previous restoration efforts--including seeding--have not.

Overgrazing: an ecosystem perspective

Why the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Sierra Club, and most government and development agencies advocate cures for overgrazing that can't work. Links to successful approaches that work with the ecosystem.

overgrazing Yet another cow desert: a small number of cattle use this pasture in Arizona.

A conversation with Jack Southworth

Jack Southworth is a personable and curious fourth-generation cattle rancher who enjoys ranching. A couple of decades younger than the average rancher, he uses words such as mindset and empower with ease. Together with his wife Teresa and three employees, he runs about 650 mother cows on a ranch near Seneca, Oregon and on the Malheur National Forest.

When the thistle wilts at Fat Sheep Farm: Holistic management helps small farmers cope with drought

Colorado, U.S.A.:  In mid-August 2001, I gazed down the Mancos River thinking to myself "Gosh it must have been a really wet year in 1776." This was the year Spanish explorers Dominguez and Escalante traveled through Southwestern Colorado in search of a trail from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Monterey, California. Their journals speak of a drowning and injuries during river crossings, and hence came names like Mancos, meaning one hand crippled, and Dolores, the river of sorrows.

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