Farm families share holistic management experiences

The inaugural meeting of the SW Ontario Holistic Management Club met Saturday, Feb. 16, at the farm of Fran and Tony McQuail near Lucknow.

Ten farm families from Lucknow, Tiverton, Neustadt, Goderich, St. Thomas, Arthur, and Stratford areas came out for the day of meeting other practitioners and touring the McQuail farm, which has been under holistic management for more than 10 years.  The families, who have taken the six-day Introduction to Holistic Management Course, shared stories about their operations and how Holistic Management had helped them improve family life, financial return, startup farm design and pasture management. In the afternoon, the group went out and viewed how the McQuails feed large square bales outside to their cattle herd and a lively discussion regarding the merits of large round bales versus large square bales followed. Square bales are more space efficient for stacking and storage but do not shed rain and snow as well as large round bales when left outside. The McQuails unroll large round bales for outside feeding in winter, but use electric fencing to limit the cow herd access to large square bales much the way they can be fed at the end of a silage bunker.

Fran McQuail, who hosted the event, said that there were more than 50 farm families in SW Ontario that had taken the course and having a management club helps everyone share their successes and keep learning from each other. She said they plan to meet quarterly at different members’ farms to give members a chance to show what‘s working on their farm.

Holistic management is a whole farm planning system that teaches farm families tools to improve family life, financial return,  and soil and pasture management to ensure a sustainable farming system that is resilient and sustainable in the current fluctuating climate.  There will be a six-day Introduction to Holistic Management Course in Woodstock in March. Anyone interested should contact the McQuails at 519-528-2493 or mcqufarm@hurontel.on.ca. The next meeting is planned for June at the beef farm of Mathias and Jen Seilern near Kincardine.

Written by on February 18, 2013 in North Huron - No comments

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