When it comes to agriculture businesses, it’s critical to look at the whole business and not just specific components in isolation. Here at RCS, we use an analogy of a three-legged pot, where the three legs represent business, production and land management. The fourth key component of people management sits inside the pot. No business can exist without people, and what those people can achieve depends on how well they manage their land, money and production systems.

Using this analogy, we can consider the grazing industry, which needs to improve its grass resource management. Problems typically arise due to a lack of knowledge and resistance to change. As time passes, this is placing the industry under pressure as the capacity of the land to produce fodder reduces in line with decreasing ecological health and function. This reduction in carrying capacity is the opposite of what is required when costs increase and prices remain relatively static or volatile.

RCS Pyramid of Profit

Every business must aim to maximise profitability sustainably from available resources. The RCS Pyramid of Profit visually shows that ecological health is essential to generate profit in a grazing business.

All grazing operations need to find and utilise practices that work with nature to maximise the bottom half of this pyramid. Using regenerative practices, you will then satisfy the ‘land’ leg of the three-legged pot.

The 6 RCS Grazing Principles

Our grazing principles aim to leave the land in better condition than we found it whilst maximising profits.

The use of time-control grazing manages a local ecosystem with grazing animals to rebuild biodiversity whilst improving water and nutrient cycling and energy efficiency.

Through extensive research, observations and trial and error, RCS has developed the six principles of regenerative grazing, which are essential for a successful grazing operation. Our founder, Dr Terry McCosker OAM, developed the first iteration of these principles in 1990 after completing a Churchill Fellowship assessing the fundamental principles of grazing successes and grazing failures across the world.

The key is to implement as many principles as possible based on practicality, economic feasibility and business goals. The most recent iteration of the six principles is as follows: 

  • Plan, monitor and manage your grazing activities
  • Give plants adequate rest to recover after grazing
  • Match your stocking rate to available carrying capacity
  • Manage livestock effectively for optimal performance
  • Use animal density as a tool for change
  • Manage for diversity of plants, animals and microbiology

Our courses explore these principles in great detail. If you feel your farm management could benefit from these principles, contact our team or sign up for a course or workshop.

Download the RCS Grazing Principles PDF for further details on what each of the principles mean.

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Terry McCosker Founder of RSC Australia and the popular Grazing For Profit School. Terry is picture working with course participants of soil health and farm management principles.

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