Park Farming is a large scale diversified vegetable and grain operation in Meridian, CA. Knuckleball Ag developed a plan for integrating rotational grazing into this complex operation to improve soil health and continue to develop the farm’s regenerative practices.
Paul created a program for the Park farmers that outlined the realities of establishing their own flock of sheep, and supported them through the process of determining what they were looking for in introducing livestock into their rotation. Paul worked with the farmers to determine the best way for Park Farming to attain the benefits of integrating livestock into this particular system.
Paul’s proposal included:
- Appropriate timing to introduce livestock in order to gain the most benefit for soil health in this permanent bed annual cropping system.
- Appropriate soil moisture conditions to protect the tilth and integrity of established bed tops.
- Rotation timing intervals and crop planning to maintain appropriate Days to Harvest for vegetable and grain crops after removal of livestock.
- Estimation of available forage from cover crops and post-harvest crop residue for spring and fall grazing of vegetable cropping areas as well as non-cropped grazing land.
- Determined appropriate stocking density given their available grazing space at different times of year.
- Provided consultation on standards to meet Animal Welfare and Organic certification.
- Estimated total cost of establishing a new flock, including infrastructure, supplemental feed and animal care, and labor costs.
- Provided a realistic view of what this venture would require.
Ultimately, Paul provided the support and expertise needed for these farmers to come to the determination that keeping their own flock of sheep was not the most time or cost efficient approach in this already very complex system. Instead, the land stewards at Park Farming followed Paul’s advice to bring in a contract grazer – a professional grazing service that was able to utilize Paul’s plan and provide a targeted grazing service when and where the Park farmers need it, providing all of the benefits of bringing animals back to the land and creating a truly regenerative system.