Home 5 Ag Stories Kenyan Livestock Grazing Concept Used in U.S. to Preserve Land

Kenyan Livestock Grazing Concept Used in U.S. to Preserve Land

Photo by Ben Nuelle

With the World population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, farmers will have to provide food for more and more people. A Kenyan man explains a rotational livestock grazing concept used on over 40 million acres across the globe including Iowa.

Richard Hatfield is with Natural Capital East Africa in Nanyuki, Kenya. He has helped the Outreach Shallom Farm in Tanzania, East Africa implement a unique grazing concept across 8,000 acres on their farm.

“A handy example from east Africa where I’m from, we’re basically recreating the wildebeest migration. This is where you put a bunch of animals together and they move. They mow down everything and grass needs to be eaten to thrive. If you leave grass, it actually dies of old age and that’s why resting land eventually kills plants and puts land to sleep,” Hatfield said.

He says when large cattle herds move, their behaviors are different from the normal practice of scattered and hanging around.

“So when they move, they do a lot of action with their hooves, so were talking about each one of their hoof marks creating a mini dam. When it rains, you’ve increased substantially water infiltration and at the same time they help plant the seeds that can’t germinate and add fertilizer, and then moving the herd off while under-sowing the next crop underneath,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield says this process greatly increases carrying capacity of the land. He says land owners in the western U.S. have also adopted this concept and have seen good results.