Below is a rebuttal to Briske (2008) by Texas A&M scientist Richard Teague. Teague is actually one of the coauthors of Briske (2008). He published several papers (Teague 2009, Teague 2011) refuting Briske (2008) after Briske failed to integrate evidence contrary to his position that reflected positively on multi-paddock grazing and in accord with benefits of a adaptive management toward ecological goals, as advocated by Savory (1999).
Teague (2011) states:
"Our study contradicts a recent review of rangeland grazing studies (Briske et al., 2008) which suggested MP grazing does not improve vegetation or animal production relative to continuous grazing. The discrepancy is because we measured the impacts on vegetation and soils achieved by ranchers managing at the ranch scale and adapting management in response to changing circumstances in order to achieve desirable outcomes"The below was originally posted here, https://www.box.com/....
Teague's 2011 paper, Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie is published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. You can request a copy of the complete article from Teaque directly, r‐firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see a more detailed rebuttal of a Holechek and Briske here.
And talking points regarding Savory: Validating the Efficacy and Correcting Misconceptions
In Defense of Multi-paddock Grazing and a Rebuttal to Comments that Savory's Work is Discredited
Richard Teague, Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management, Texas AgriLife Research Texas A&M University System, P.O. Box 1658 Vernon TX 76385. E-mail: r‐email@example.com.
You may request copies of the Teague papers from me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The debate on MP grazing is not over. Reviews of grazing management research by Holechek et al. (2000) and Briske et al. (2008) concluded “multi-paddock grazing improves neither vegetation nor animal production relative to single-paddock continuous stocking.“ This hypothesis and viewpoint is deficient because it does not consider 1) critical differences between reductionist science and management, 2) the integration of ecological, economic, and social goals required for successful management, and 3) the value of case studies for studying such phenomena.
Reviews of grazing management research by Holechek et al. (2000) and Briske et al. (2008) concluded “multi-paddock grazing improves neither vegetation nor animal production relative to single-paddock continuous stocking.“ This hypothesis and viewpoint is deficient...Leading farmers and ranchers achieve superior results by the way they allocate resources, use different techniques, apply novel concepts and adaptively change these elements to achieve outcomes that exceed the sum of parts involved. This is the “art of farming”, long acknowledged as the producer of superior results. Reductionist science is wholly inadequate for improving understanding of management as it simplifies and isolates inputs and treatments so as to preclude the discovery of emergent properties that are the signature achievement of leading managers as discussed in detail by the Dutch scientists van der Ploeg et al. (2006).
Leading farmers and ranchers achieve superior results by the way they allocate resources, use different techniques, apply novel concepts...This is the “art of farming”,...Reductionist science is wholly inadequate for improving understanding of management as it simplifies and isolates inputs and treatments so as to preclude the discovery of emergent properties...The book chapter by Teague et al (2009) outlines how these 2 opposite lines of thinking have come about. The majority of research referred to by Briske et al. (2008) has been short-term and has examined the issue based upon a reductionist viewpoint that has not included the critical influences of scale, or how best to manage multi-paddock grazing strategies to achieve sound animal production, resource improvement, and socio-economic goals under constantly varying environmental conditions that pertain on all rangelands.
To test this hypothesis, we compared ranches managed traditionally or with multi-paddock grazing for at least 10 years. Our findings were consistent with the hypothesis that “at a ranch management scale, planned multi‐paddock grazing, when managed to give best vegetation and animal performance, has the potential to produce superior conservation and restoration outcomes for rangeland resources, to provide superior ecosystem services for society, and to yield greater ranch profitability and greater socio-ecological resilience compared to season-‐long continuous stocking.” This research is published in Teague et al. (2011).
During the last two decades, the vast majority of awards for conservation have gone to ranchers using multi-paddock grazing of some form to accomplish ecological, economic, and social goals. Each one of these ranchers, and all others using multi-paddock grazing, refutes the hypothesis of Briske et al (2008). As an illustration of the validity of this approach, the NRCS in Texas now receive Holistic Management training developed by Allan Savory and use it for their planning and management advice to ranchers throughout the state.
During the last two decades, the vast majority of awards for conservation have gone to ranchers using multi-paddock grazing of some form to accomplish ecological, economic, and social goals...For the future, I believe we need to look at what the most successful ranch managers are doing to achieve excellent conservation goals.We understand that for any grazing management to succeed it must be done correctly. That is why, as Allan Savory contends, we must specify goals and approaches to integrate desirable ecological, economic, and social objectives (Savory and Butterfield, 1999). This applies as much for multi-paddock grazing as any other type of grazing. There have been many ranchers worldwide who have achieved very good results with multi-paddock grazing, including Planned Holistic Grazing Management. However, there have also been many failures using multi-paddock management. We need to learn from both.
For the future, I believe we need to look at what the most successful ranch managers are doing to achieve excellent conservation goals. Most have used some form of multi-paddock grazing. But we also need to study those who have used multi-paddock grazing but have failed to improve resources or profitability. We will learn what works from studying both.
Currently there is too much emotion on this topic. We need to get beyond personal vendettas and prejudices and concentrate on learning from those who, by integrating ecological, economic, and social goals, have achieved excellent results. We have to increase the health of the land for the benefit of those who earn their livelihoods from it and all those who benefit from the ecosystem services healthy landscapes provide.
Briske, D., Derner, J., Brown, J., Fuhlendorf, S., Teague, R., Gillen, B., Ash, A., Havstad, K., Willms, W., 2008. Benefits of Rotational Grazing on Rangelands: An Evaluation of the Experimental Evidence. Rangeland Ecology and Management 61, 3-17.
Holechek, J.L., Gomes, H., Molinar, F., Galt, D., Valdez, R., 2000. Short duration grazing, the facts in 1999. Rangelands 22, 18-‐22.
Teague, W.R., Provenza, F.D., Norton, B.E., Steffens, T., Barnes, M.K., Kothmann, M.M., Roath, R.L., 2009. Benefits of Multi-‐ Paddock Grazing Management on Rangelands: Limitations of Experimental Grazing Research and Knowledge Gaps. In: Schroder, H.G. (Ed.), Grasslands: Ecology, Management and Restoration. Nova Science, New York, pp. 41-80.
Teague, W.R., Dowhower, S.L., Baker, S.A., Haile, N., DeLaune, P.B., Conover, D.M., 2011. Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 141, 310-322.
Savory, A., Butterfield, J., 1999. Holistic management, a new framework for decision making. 2nd edition. Island Press, Washington, D.C., 616 p.
Van der Ploeg, J.D., Verschuren, P., Verhoeven, F., Pepels, J., 2006. Dealing With Novelties: a Grassland Experiment Reconsidered. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 8, 199–218.
11 March 2013