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Nicholas Burtner 's Profile
Nicholas Burtner
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Joined:
29/12/2012
Last Updated:
29/12/2012
Location:
Dallas, Plano, TX, United States
Climate Zone:
Cool Temperate
Gender:
Male
Web site:
schoolofpermaculture.com





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The Yoga Forest

The Yoga Forest

San Marcos la Laguna, GT


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Zaytuna Farm, The home of the permaculture Research Institute   East Fort Worth Montessori Academy Permaculture Project PRI New Zealand (Koanga Institute) Eden Study Center Mongeal Mapu - Tierra para la Vida - Land for Life Zone 0. Balcony Permaculture 3/4 Acre Food Forest in North Texas
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Advanced Cell Grazing

Posted by Nicholas Burtner over 9 years ago

Permaculture view on cell grazing that combines a myriad of productions and fertilization

NOTE: It is easier to read this article with the images noted at this link:

http://permaculturenews.org/2013/07/16/advanced-cell-grazing-permaculture-livestock-systems-at-zaytuna-farm/

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Zaytuna Grazing Method

Advanced Cell Grazing

By Nick Burtner – WorkingWithNature.org

 

Cell grazing is not a new option when it comes to large animal management. However, brewing at Zaytuna Farm is a dynamic and advanced cell moving method that combines technique and strategies from age old as well as newly discovered.

 

 

It has been said before, and most of us permaculturists have used our power of observation to see, that nature will opt for balance. We can see this apparent when an overgrazed pasture begins to degenerate and before long the cows or sheep start getting intestinal parasites. Or when we over plow soil we get an abrupt influx of weedy legumes to accumulate nutrient. In the end nature wins.

 

 

The Zaytuna Grazing Method, invented by Geoff Lawton, hybridizes a multitude of different animal management systems from Allan Savory to Joel Salatin and Regen Ag. The ZGM then incorporates a permaculture twist that will regenerate landscape and grow both productive food, crops, and even vegetation for other uses such as timber, nutrient accumulation, and wildlife habitat.

 

 

The method starts with the construction of a permanent solar powered 9000 watt electric fence called a “laneway”, (see photo below, red lines are the laneway), which was also created according the features of the land, much like a swale is created on contour. If possible the laneway should be preplanned in the earthwork stage (at the beginning) of a farm's creation. On this 66 acre farm the laneway travels through a very diverse landscape of food forest, pasture, swales, ponds, river flat, road frontage, and regrowth forest. The diversity of such landscape provides a multitude of benefits to the grazing animals such as biodiversity in their diet to ensure animal health and proper nutrition. Ideally the grazing cells, after a herd has grazed on it, should remain fallow (left alone) for up to 70 days at a time for regrowth. This cuts down on pest and disease infestations. It is important to note that if you take in an animal that was not born on this type of diverse landscape and has only had grain feed it's entire life, then it would show wise to ween the animal on such a diverse diet or the animal may get shock and die.

 

 

The laneway has a series of gates about every quarter acre to half acre and also has switches about every 5 acres that turn large portions of the laneway on or off to consolidate energy when not in use. The gates allow access to grazing pastures that are created using spindles of electric fence woven through pigtails to create temporary grazing cells (see photo below) where the animals stay 2, 4, or 7 days at a time before being moved to another pasture. Keep in mind that with 25 or more acres you can have 2 or more groups of large animals being moved across the property at the same time and still not infringe on the amount o f time needed for the cells to regrow after grazing. If smaller property, then use your own judgment on amount of land and quantity of animals with your diversity and your landscape if it is suitable to use one or more grazing herds at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

Permaculture, with all of it's practical techniques, has another dimension of strategy. Which means that when we add the element of time we are allowed to be creative to plan for soil rehabilitation and even reforestation using grazing animals. The image below portrays an example of stacking a laneway, swale, food forest, pasture, slope, and time. This is doing something very clever. By using the slope of the land we are allowing the manure from the grazing animals to be washed into swales where their nutrient is then spread via rain that will fill the swales that will travel and infiltrate across the property. Below the swales are food forest which take up some of the nutrient for the production of food and biomass. Below the food forest and before the next swale is called the interswale. In this method the interswale is a grazing cell where the animals are eating fresh pasture and depositing more manures for even further nutrient penetration further down slope. (example in diagram below)

 

 

 

It is important to note that the diversity of animals and manures that hit the pastures and swales will have a great beneficial impact on the soil. If we were to move a chicken tractor over the cells after the cows have grazed on them then we will deposit a different diversity of nutrient and also clear the area quickly of pests and even greatly deplete favorable conditions of unwanted vegetation (weeds). It is also important to note that large animals typically enjoy tree leaves and the cells should be placed just out of reach of the food forests unless we are wanting to thin them holistically with the herd.

 

 

By using these methods a farm can maintain a healthy, disease and pest resistant landscape that benefits all life in both created and natural ecosystems. Savings on purchases of food, antibiotics, and medical treatments for the animals will be of great value using the ZGM as well. Many farmers are also looking for multiple income streams and gaining the best possible yields while improving the soil structure and resell-ability of their land. This system allows for just that. With swales and ponds on the property there is the additional ability for aquaculture. The food forest systems can grow food for not only aquaculture, but also the grazing animals, and humans that live on the farm or to sell in markets. The pastures produce beautiful organic and lush grasses that provide for a healthy herd that can be used for dairy or meat that will call top dollar as this method of grazing far out produces organics in nutrients. And a large crop can be planted in an interswale. The crop can be rotated every growing season which will allow the grasses in the interswale to regenerate when not being used for a crop or grazed on. This system also allows for just a few employees or ranch hands, because once initially set up, the moving of the cells is the hardest part of the job – which isn't that hard at all.

 

Nick Burtner – WorkingWithNature.org

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My Badges
Consultant Aid worker Pdc teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
Verified
PDC Spring 2012
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Dick Pierce
Other Teachers: Kirby Fry, Cas Vanwoerden, Pliny Fisk III
Location: Austin, TX
Date: Jan 2012
Pri verified
PDC Fall 2012
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Geoff Lawton
Other Teachers: Bill Mollison
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Date: Sep 2012
Other course unverified
Earthship Academy
Type: Other
Verifying teacher: Mike Reynolds
Other Teachers: Jonah Reynolds, Ron Sciarrillo, Amzi Smith, Kirsten Jacobson
Location: Taos, New Mexico
Date: Jun 2012
Other course verified
Earthworks Course
Type: Earthworks
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: PRI Australia
Date: Feb 2013
Other course verified
PDC Teacher Training Course
Type: Teacher Training
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: PRI Australia
Date: Feb 2013
Other course verified
Urban Permaculture Course
Type: Other
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: PRI Australia
Date: Feb 2013
Other course verified
AID Project Establishment Course
Type: Aid Worker
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: Zaytuna Farm
Date: Jun 2013
Other course verified
Soils Course
Type: Soil Biology/Compost
Teacher: Paul Taylor
Location: Zaytuna Farm
Date: Jun 2013
Other course verified
Internship
Type: Internship
Verifying teacher: Geoff Lawton
Other Teachers: Nadia Lawton, Kay Baxter, Paul Taylor
Location: Zaytuna Farm
Date: Jan 2013
Other course unverified
Food Security through Nutritional Resilience & Seed Saving
Type: Other
Teacher: Kay Baxter
Location: Zaytuna Farm
Date: Feb 2013
23 PDC Graduates (list)
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74 Other Course Graduates (list)
have acknowledged being taught by Nicholas Burtner
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Climate Zones
Nicholas Burtner has permaculture experience in:
Cool Temperate
Warm Temperate
Mediterranean
Island
Sub tropical
Wet/Dry Tropical
Wet Tropical
Dry Tropical
Arid
Semi Arid
Hot Desert

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