Jul 30, 2013
Published on Mar 19, 2013
From the Archive: Interview from HMI's Future Farmers & Ranchers course held at Mt. Vernon Farm, by Holistic Management International. Ian Mitchell-Innes is a South African whose family has been on the same ranch since 1863. He has practiced many forms of ranching and farming: growing crops, feedlotting, conventional extensive ranching, irrigated tropical and cool season grasses. At the age of 48, he determined to practice Holistic Management, and completed the Certified Educators Program. Over the past 8 years, Ian has trained ranchers, farmers, families, businesses and communities in Holistic Management.
After taking Holistic Management Financial planning training, he turned off his irrigation pumps and has never turned them on again. He ceased all forms of farming (turning the soil). This amounted to a huge savings with no electricity, tractor, labor or fertilizer costs.
He reports that no dosing or dipping is done and as far as possible no chemicals are used. This past year the only supplementation given to all the cattle has been salt and bone meal (phosphate). No hay, bales or protein licks are used at all.
High Density Grazing and Holistic Grazing Planning have resulted in such an increased production and palatability of grass that half the ranch has been leased out for three years. This is despite the country being in the worst drought of 40 years. The utilization of the available grass has improved to the point of having to bring in more cattle to prepare the ground for spring.
In 2005 Ian's son, William, came back to the ranch (14,000 acres) and they have tripled the number of cattle, running two breeds. Ian runs Beefmaster cattle and William decided to ranch with Ngunis, an indigenous breed. Services that were previously outsourced are now being kept in the family with the return to South Africa of our daughter, Georgina, even though she is not living on the ranch.
Ian Mitchell-Innes Interview on Holistic Management Planned Grazing - YouTube