Agriculture and food production have a great impact on the environment, and that impact is becoming more of a political issue as we square up our lifestyles with environmental concerns. Often times, ancient practices of grazing can be used to mitigate our overall impact.
At the same time, however, there are new technologies and gadgets that could be of great help in making sustainable grazing more manageable to achieve.
For centuries, grazing field were divided by fences, separating the animals into herds. This was done for a variety of reasons, but also created numerous problems. For instance, less land was available to work with, making it more difficult to utilize the land effectively.
This is starting to change today, as many farmers choose to remove their fencing entirely. This means that all cattle are treated as one herd. The land still has individual owners, who can be paid for providing the service of renting their land out for grazing.
For some time now there has been a debate about whether grazing land is a common good. Throughout the Cold War, it was seen as a mistake to treat land as a common commodity from which everyone could benefit. This was an ideological decision made in the spirit of the time, but was not based on any scientific data from those who study farming practices.
Things are becoming especially suited to treating land as common now, as it is much easier to follow stock and the impact of grazing on the land.
Monitoring natural resources via sensor devices is a vital tech development in the farming industry. These devices can be placed on the field or on the cattle itself. The system is known as the Internet of Things, and is already used in a variety of different industries. It is a way to create virtual fences, while still keeping track of how land is used. Cattle are allowed to roam free, cutting down on natural labor.
These devices are important, but are not enough on their own. They are but one tool used in the pursuit of grazing systems designed to make the most out of fertile land. This grazing system isn’t new, unlike the tech it relies on. The system allows for easier tracking of animals, as well as monitoring of the soil itself.
As resources are monitored remotely, farmers can gather big-picture data about the state of their operations. This goes for feed resources in terms of grazing, but also for access to fresh, clean water.
This allows farmers to prepare for events such as droughts. It also allows farmers to move or sell cattle before it becomes too difficult or unprofitable to keep them.
In the end, this changes the nature of cattle farming as a whole, transforming it into a more remote job. Farmers can more effectively divide their time. The use of additional tech is also likely to be a draw for young farmers, who are moving to the country side from urban areas.
The role of new gadgets in farming is growing every year, and tech has found its way into grazing techniques as well. The use of radars, monitors, and the “Internet of Things” will make it easier for farmers to graze their cattle on more than one piece of land, treating all cattle in an area as one collective herd.