“God alone knows what you are missing and I am gaining
through the personal satisfaction of improving something
that was crying out for improvement.”
Dear Friends and Family
September was a special month with wonderful guests and things happening on various fronts. Peter and Karl joined us early in the month and the topic was managing Kachana’s remaining wild donkeys in a manner that meets government criteria for the custodianship of natural resources. Daniel, Blake and Bailey came to familiarise themselves with “the outback of the outback” and to explore how we might all participate in the sort of custodianship that our grandchildren would be proud of!
A small herd of Middle-Level Managers were daily shown new areas to work in. Regrettably we failed to attend the now annual KPCA Livestock Handling Cup. (What a fun way to keep Upper-Level Managers on their toes! Hopefully we will attend next year!)
This month’s quote comes from the grandfather of Aticia Grey, author of the book 'Muster Dogs'. Thank you Teesh, for an inspiring story. Innovators like you are raising the bar for the roles of Middle-Level Management in our landscapes! – (I doubt that I will live long enough to work with a whole team of dogs out in the wild country, but here is a short video-clip of Kristina’s girl ‘Bandit’ at work for me in an area that is considerably less challenging.)
As the month ended, so did the dry season. It did so in the best manner imaginable with days of quiet drizzle!
As so many of you may be aware, we have another mediation session with the SAT scheduled for 26th October. Another season has passed and our monitoring supports the notion that we can readily achieve positive ‘triple bottom line’ outcomes when putting managed wild donkeys to use in terrain where cattle do not readily venture. – Wish us success in collaboratively coming up with ‘win win win’ outcomes.
Enjoy the mix of photos for the month and warm greetings from Kachana.
Photos of the Month
News & Views
Joel to visit Hendrik in South Africa
Jacqueline and I first heard Joel Salatin speak at a conference in early 1999.
Farmer, family man, innovator, speaker, author, … a list of things he does is even longer than what he calls himself: a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer!
Others who like him, call him the most famous farmer in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson.
Those who don’t like him, call him a bio-terrorist, Typhoid Mary, charlatan, and starvation advocate.
You will find all this and more on the internet, but if you happen to be in South Africa this November, you can meet the man in person.
Joel will be running Masterclasses in South Africa, November, 2022.
(Capetown: Nov. 5-6; East London: Nov. 8-9; Johannesburg: Nov. 11-12; contact email@example.com)
The third of these Masterclasses will be run on a unique little property approximately 200 km North of Johannesburg.
What is so unique about this property, is that it is the location of the second huge breakthrough in managed animal behaviour that Hendrik O’Neill is now working on!
The first breakthrough took place in Zimbabwe during the mid-nineties when the Zietsman and the O’Neill families began pioneering what (in ranching circles) is today known as ‘Ultra-High-Density-Grazing’.
(The behaviour of domesticated herbivores is managed in order to achieve biological soil-renewal. – We mimic processes that nature appears to have used to build and to maintain fertility in savanna systems, whose soils were not granted rejuvenation by glacial processes during recent ice-ages.)
Fast Forward to 2014
Hendrik and his team find themselves ‘in the deep end’ of what has now arguably become
“Hendrik has worked out how to do with pigs, on small acreages,
what antelope migrations achieved at landscape levels.” Percy Sharp
The team anticipates the next shift
Sow building a nest for piglets in winter
I feel that it cannot be stressed enough that the real power in this (high-skill low-tech) model is the rapidity with which landscape-rehydration can be achieved!
(When managed accordingly, this first step is followed by spectacular regeneration and gains in productivity.)
Below is an attempt to capture in words my understanding of what I intuit to be so important and different about what Hendrik and his team are working on.
I remind readers that I too am a student of Joel’s. After briefly meeting him at the Holistic Management Conference in Orange NSW back in February 1999, I have since devoured nearly all the books that he has written. My understanding is that Joel (working in a non-brittle tending environment) has devised a model that centres around the functional ability of chickens [birds].
Joel has added, stacked and vertically integrated complementary and/or synergistic enterprises.
In this the freely “traded” energy of pigs is a major contributor. “Pigs love to work for corn!”
(Note: ‘Animal Energy’ is clean renewable energy at our disposal! [Only, if we know how to harness it!])
Joel capitalises on pigs performing within their comfort zones, presumably behaving in much the same manner as they would in the wild; he also uses pigs to push down succession [from forest to pig-savannas] thereby boosting production and increasing biodiversity.
Hendrik (located in a brittle tending environment) has a model that centres around the behaviour of pigs [powerful intelligent scheming animals].
Hendrik takes pigs “out of their comfort zone” [into 'very-high' to 'ultra-high' densities in a brittle low-successional environment] but he gives them what they need to make themselves comfortable. Thus, the model on the farm at BelaBela capitalises on pigs actually creating their desired levels of comfort.
Whilst doing so, the pigs fertilise and cultivate the soil. They boost succession and at the same time they raise productivity and enhance biodiversity. Hendrik and team then proceed to add other synergistic and complementary enterprises to suit their context.
On a small parcel of land Hendrik O'Neill has devised a low-tech, high-skill model that can be up-scaled!
(As also with Joel’s model,) Mother Nature supplies the energy and biology does the heavy lifting.
It is all about harnessing behaviour to direct and capitalise on biological energy.
When Hendrik first told me what he was doing, I thought: Either my friend is on heavy medication, or this is another breakthrough!
This was in 2015 - I needed to fly to South Africa to see for myself.
I was not disappointed.
The pigs were literally ‘kick-starting’ and then driving successional processes and productivity.
Later, guided by the numbers of birds attracted to the scene, chickens were added.
Now the country (formerly depleted and contaminated cropping country) is able to again support cattle.
I very much look forward to these two pioneer regenerative innovators meeting and comparing notes.
Meanwhile, for those of us who cannot be there, here is a recent video that lets us tap into Joel’s wisdom:
Note: we also recommend (to all audiences) this book:
(Budding Land-Doctors, please note: Joel’s concept of internships that lead to the ownership and enterprise-management of “fiefdoms” is a model we embrace on Kachana.)
Link of the Month
"There's so much foolishness going on in the mid-level bureaucratic world now. That's where all the tyranny seems to be focused and the reason that it multiplies is that sensible people say nothing when they should say something and what's so strange about that is that there are way more sensible people than people who aren't sensible. They're just not as noisy." J.B.P.