Watch the video above for the full interview with Ryan Boyd from South Glanton Farms in Manitoba, Canada or read the transcript highlights below:
Question 1 - Years in Total Grazing vs Selective Grazing
[2:26] Jim: How many years have you been doing Total Grazing vs Selective Grazing?
[3:02] Ryan: We've been selective rotationally grazing for 15 years now so it has been about one year since we really started Total Grazing. It took seeing it, witnessing it in person at your experienced ranch there [Florida] to really for the light bulb to go on and really show us the potential. So when we came home we started in the Total Grazing. We were totally believers after trying it for one summer. We would never switch back now. We still have a lot to learn but it's so much potential with Total Grazing.
Question 2 - Nuffield scholarship. Total Grazing vs other grazing operations
[3:45] Jim: I remember you visited me on February of 2020 and then you left on a Nuffield scholarship to visit other parts of the world to learn about their grazing methods?
[4:00] Ryan: That's right, yeah, it was the front end of my personal study so I was on the road for about six weeks after I visited with you and I saw all kinds of different grazing operations. I was in Australia, I was in the UK, I've been in New Zealand, South America, Brazil, and yeah it seems like the people everywhere are still in the old paradigm that, you know, photosynthetic regrowth, recovery is based from the photosynthetic capacity that we leave by top grazing.
But as any practitioner knows that watches animals graze, you can't teach an animal to graze evenly unless you are consuming high percentages of the material that is there.
So as I travel the world I didn't visit with too many other grazing experts that in my mind had it much figured as you did in Florida Jim. So it was an enlightening experience being done at your place there last February for sure.
Question 3: Why did you decide on Total Grazing?
[5:28] Jim: What interests me, is that you travelled and you looked at different options and you decided on this one [Total Grazing] and then you did it, you came back, let's say in April, maybe?
[5:48] Ryan: But yes, so we came home [end of March] and we started Total Grazing as soon as we started grazing in April there. And it's been a game changer ever since we started that.
[6:27] Ryan: What was alluding me though, was the profitability. Specially on this land that it can produce the quality feed and abundant feed. And Total grazing kind of has allowed us the paradigm shift to capitalize on that forage growth and an effective means to turn that productivity into a cashflow producing deal when we can graze it with the animals, produce the calves, the weight gain at a significant stocking rate that is meaningful. And all of that while rapidly improving the landscape, the soil.
Question 4: What have been your results in carrying capacity
[7:09] Jim: So you started in late March and after 13-14 years of selective grazing. What are the results between total grazing and selective grazing in carrying capacity?
[7:29] Ryan: Yeah, so, we were coming off of 2 kind of dry years, so in 2019 we averaged like 50 to 60 animal unit days per acre. That's how we kind of measure how much grazing we are taking. And immediately upon implementing the Total Grazing, we were seeing numbers of 100 animal unit days per acre and we reached as high as 200 on some of our fields last summer and that was basically doing it from an inexperienced state, like starting from square one. We had a lot of help from yourself and that was great but now that we've been through a season and we know what the opportunity is, what we can do differently, we're easily going to double, triple, potentially more than what we were doing just 2, 3 years ago with kind of the selective rotational grazing type deal.
Question 5: What message would you give to ranchers regarding the Total Grazing Course?
[9:41] Jim: What would you tell people that are on the fence regarding enrolling in the Total Grazing online course?
[9:52] Ryan: Well, I'd say you run your numbers. Think about what a 2 times stocking rate could do for the profitability of your farm or ranch. Whatever you want to refer to it, your grazing operation. The cost to enroll is negligible when you think about the potential returns that you will see when you do implement Total Grazing on your operation.
Question 6: How many times more forage on your stockpile with Total Grazing?
[13:00] Jim: Would that be 2 or 3 times more forage on your stockpile?
[13:04] Ryan: Oh, I think so. We'll know some numbers here better in the next couple of weeks or month. But we are probably looking of a stockpile of 200 animal unit days per acre and we've never been that high before and I attribute that to the way we grazed last summer with that Total Grazing, grazed it hard and then just got away, left it, let it grow the balance of the season.
[13:32] Jim: That's the way to do it. Remember the stockpile you saw in Florida with me that it was giving us like 400 cow days?
[13:40] Ryan: Yeah, I remember that and I have a hard time putting that image out of my mind. Because it was standing in that field looking in that stockpile and running the numbers there with you. That's kind of when the light bulb went on and it was like , yeah, we have to do this at home.
And funny thing, this summer, the first area where we did start doing the Total grazing, the regrowth on that it reminded me a lot of what we were seeing in Florida on your place. The leaves were high quality, really long, lush, just a dense mass of high quality forage. That's what the stockpile was sitting there now waiting for us to graze this Spring. So we are looking forward to getting on that stockpile.
Question 7: What kind of stockpile did you do under selective grazing?
[14:55] Jim: Under selective grazing or top grazing, they teach to leave stockpile all around the farm and graze it down in rotations. Have you ever done that?
[15:05] Ryan: Yeah, we've done that and it was a wreck. It didn't work. What we saw happening was, well there were two things. During the growing season as we were trying to just graze trying to taking the top bits, and moving around the farm rapidly and trying to build that stockpile as the summer went. It pinned us into a corner, because we dry oat here midsummer. Midsummer to late summer the moisture turns off and the growth really slows down.
What was happening was we would be moving real fast and by the time we realized the growth was slowing down we were already back to where we needed to graze what we had grazed say a month prior while it hadn't fully recovered and the pastures were regressing.
Then the stockpile, on the other end, if you try to graze subsequent grazings of the stockpile in the dormant season, well, all we ended doing is just trampling that into the ground. And the utilization rates are terrible. Cattle would perform okay but the stocking rates was brutal.
We had to change what we were doing, financially just was not working. We had to do something different and I think the answer lays in the Total Grazing.
[18:26] Jim: I can see that you're going to become a world leader in showing people what can be done in a difficult environment because it does get cold and once you work on your genetics because I know you are doing it, it will only get better.
[20:19] Jim: It is wholly your merit because most people do not take the first step and you are in your tenth step so you are running away with it. Thank you very much and congratulations!
And I hope everyone got the hint here that it can be done even in Canada [Manitoba] and you should enroll in the Total Grazing Online Course so you can learn not only how to do it but you will get 8 Live Q&A sessions and support and it will be yours for life so you can watch it as many times you want and there will be also a private discussion forum.
We have four pillars, this is the first of the four pillars, Total Grazing and then comes Adapted Genetics & Selection. After that, we have two other pillars to form the 4 Pillars that together are the basis for bringing harmony to your land, your life and your livestock.
To enroll in the Total Grazing online course, click here. Enrollment closes soon.