Chris Knight, Highgate, Ontario – 7th July 2015

Chris Knight is a teacher who moonlights as a farmer or the other way around I am not sure!

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I managed to get invited with Woody to visit Chris through Ruth Knight ( no relation) who is an Organic Consultant with whom I was put in contact with by Lucas Criswell in Pennsylvania three weeks ago. Chris is a proponent of mob grazing with his Angus cattle.

The idea is that you allow the grass to come to seed head before you allow the cows to graze. The idea is that the longer the grass is the longer the roots are. Also you only let the cows graze the top of the plant with all the sugar and they trample the rest.

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The cows are fenced into a narrow strip and are moved everyday.

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This strip was grazed the day before, this end is where the water trough is so was trampled more.

Then below is where it was grazed 10 days ago. image

As you can see the re growth is very quick. Chris tries to graze each section every 42 days and each strip will be grazed 3-4 times a year. This system means he has tripled the forage compared to rotational grazing. He has increased his soil OM to 4%, which on this light sand is excellent

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Chris bale grazes over winter. The calves are finished on a nearby farm before being direct marketed to local businesses. The cattle seemed very relaxed and happy. They will mostly feed at night and ruminate during the day. Chris seems to have his system down to a fine art and manages to have 70 cows and calves on 50 acres all year with another small part down to hay. He spends less than an hour a day looking after the cows.

Chris was finding that he was losing customers as he could not supply organic pork too. So now he has started with hogs

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These pigs have access to the outside. He also had chickens upstairs. I found the morning with Chris fascinating, which my father would find funny that I enjoyed looking at cows! Chris’s system has increased his soil health dramatically and he had to spend very little time with the cows daily to achieve that. So he has soil health and good lifestyle.

Well done Chris

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