Our primary goal is to improve the health of the ecosystems we work in. Read about our methods below.
Ultra-high density grazing
Ultra High-Density (UHD) is a particular brand of the more well-known “mob grazing” technique. The idea underlying the technique is that grasslands co-evolved with densely moving herds of grazing animals that heavily impacted grasses and soils, which were then afforded long periods of rest during which they were able to recover. Imitating these conditions leads to the thriving of native grasslands.
This type of herd movement can be achieved in the presence of predators—such as the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone—or by managing herds with UHD. As demonstrated and detailed in Johann Zietsman’s book, Man, Cattle & Veld, UHD delivers almost uniform intensive impact while affording maximal resting periods for grazed landscapes. We achieve this desirable impact by moving our sheep up to eight times a day, keeping them feeding constantly and moving densely.
In this way the sheep: 1) impact the entire cell instead of selectively overgrazing the most palatable plants; 2) disturb the soil helping water infiltrate and providing optimal conditions for seed germination, and 3) lay down dense manure and litter, increasing soil organic carbon. UHD has the added benefit of drastically increasing feed utilization rates both in feed consumed and in efficiency of digestion due to consistent rumen biology.
We consider monitoring to be at the heart of our mission at Cuyama Lamb. Our goal is beneficial ecological impact, and we are not attached to the means by which we achieve it, only to the outcome. Monitoring ensures that our impact is increasing biodiversity of native plant species.
We have teamed up with Cal Poly’s Professor of Rangeland Ecology, Dr. Marc Horney, to create a monitoring protocol that tracks the effects of our management.
In addition, our management at San Marcos Foothills Preserve will be monitored by ecologists at Channel Islands Restoration. Results will be shared as soon as possible!
Seeding & propagation
While the right management alone increases native plant biodiversity, we give our local biodiversity an extra boost by broadcasting seed and planting starts.