Climate Farmers Academy

Module 1.4 – Integrate Animals

Module 1.4 – Integrate Animals

Learning Objectives:

  • Why are animals important for a farm ecosystem
  • How do animals support plant growth

Animals are essential in every living system. Animal manure is an important step to bring nutrients back into the soil. When animals are grazing the land, it acts as a natural form of pruning.

Plants have a similar amount of matter above ground as below. With each bit a plant loses above the soil, a similar amount of roots die off in the soil. There, it becomes food for microorganisms that feed the plant in turn.

Roots become long chains of compost deep down into the soil.Pruning in the right rhythm encourages plants to grow back and store even more carbon in the soil.

The impact of animal hooves on soil, mix in biomass, which acts as food for microbes. It also creates small indentations that enable seeds and water to collect. Periodic grazing greatly increases health and carbon storage of fields.

To ensure that areas don’t get overgrazed, animals need to move between different areas. When animals are managed holistically and are rotated between fields, they help to keep plants healthy and bring many nutrients back on and into the ground.

In addition to farm animals, wild animals are crucial for a healthy farm. Beneficial insects, pollinators, birds, worms and countless others are part of the farm ecosystem. They provide ecosystem services for us to keep a healthy balance.

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