Overall plan of activities per month

Plan for 2019/2020 based on observations in 2018 and 2019. This plan gets updated when new information becomes available.

Important: Based on the principles of Holistic Management we try to manage the Whole of the farm instead of trying to optimize individual parts. The overall objective is to continuously regenerate fertility so that productivity can emerge as an outcome.

August 2019

There is no rain. Temperatures are above 30C and may rise to 40C.

Warm season grass (Cynodon dactylon) that emerged in certain areas continues to grow slowly. In areas with additional moisture growth is quicker.

Objectives:

Pigs are kept in zone A areas covered with straw. Feed is placed upon the straw to make them distribute it and reduce its size.

Horses and sheep in zone B graze the standing hay. All cows are in zone C to harvest the remaining standing hay.

Paddocks in zone A are finished. New fencing in zone C is set up in order to protect the lower 2 ha where cool season grass was growing well last year.

September 2019

The rainy season begins. Temperatures are still around 30C.

Objectives:

With the rain and lower temperatures cool season grasses awake and begin to grow. We observe grass growth in zones A and C.

Pigs start uprooting soil as it softens due to the rain. They will incorporate the straw in their area into the ground. Potentially more straw needs to be provided or the pigs are moved to the secondary area. Pigs are provided feed that is placed upon the straw.

We investigate in zone C where there is no standing hay anymore and set up new fencing to protect these areas from the cows.

Zone C will have a lot of acorns that should be harvested by the pigs later on. In order to avoid moving pigs over a long distance a pig holding area is defined in zone C and fenced in. The area will be used to hold them over night so that they don’t interfere with grass growth when not supervised. That area is later turned into a food forest.

October 2019

There is rain. Temperatures are around 25C until the one day when they drop significantly and stay low.

Objectives:

Pigs uproot the soil and continue to incorporate straw into it. Potentially more straw needs to be provided or the pigs moved to the secondary area. Pigs are provided feed.

If there is some standing hay left cows are kept in those areas. If not, cows are moved to areas where cool season grasses have sufficiently grown. Close observation is performed and cows are moved early (might be after a few hours) in order to allow the grass to continue its growth.

November 2019

Objectives:

Pigs are rotated through areas where they can eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial. There pigs prepare the soil for seeding in March.

Cows are on pasture harvesting cold season grass.

December 2019

Objectives:

Pigs are rotated through areas where they can eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial. There pigs prepare the soil for seeding in March.

Cows are on pasture harvesting cold season grass.

January 2020

January sees some night frost.

Objectives:

Pigs are rotated through areas where they can eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial. There pigs prepare the soil for seeding in March.

Cows are on pasture harvesting cold season grass.

February 2020

February sees some night frost.

Objectives:

Pigs are rotated through areas where they can eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial. There pigs prepare the soil for seeding in March.

Cows are on pasture harvesting cold season grass. By the end of February reseeding of warm season grass before cows enter an area with tall cold season grasses. Cows trample the seeds into the soil.

March 2020

Temperatures haven risen enough to enable germination of seeds.

Objectives:

Seed cowpeas and corn in designated areas - where the pigs have prepared the soil - as pig fooder. A chessboard pattern is created in order to allow controlled harvesting by the pigs using an electric fence later. See the description for June for further details.

Pigs are rotated through areas where they can eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial or they are brought to areas that will quickly regrow grass during April and May.

Cows are on pasture harvesting cold season grass. Reseeding of warm season grass before cows enter an area with short cold season grasses. Cows trample the seeds into the soil. When cows leave the area it is protected so that the warm season grass can germinate and begin growing.

April 2020

In April temperatures rise enough to stimulate the growth of warm season grass.

Objectives:

The growth in areas with seeded pig fooder is observed and documented.

Pigs are brought to areas where acorns still exist and eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial or they are brought to areas that will quickly regrow grass.

In areas where warm season grass has emerged before cows harvest all the cool season grass in order to allow the warm season species to grow. We observe and document the grass growth in these areas.

May 2020

Objectives:

The growth in areas with seeded pig fooder is observed and documented.

Pigs are brought to areas where acorns still exist on the ground and eat acorns under human supervision. Once they are done with the acorns and begin uprooting the soil, they are brought back to areas where uprooting is beneficial or they are brought to areas that will quickly regrow grass.

Cows focus on harvesting the remaining cold season grasses to allow warm season grass to grow. We observe and document the grass growth in these areas.

June 2020

The dry season with no rain begins. Daytime temperatures are above 30C.

Objectives:

Pigs harvest cowpeas and corn. We try to figure out how much they eat in order to avoid feeding them commercial pig feed. After feeding pigs have access to harvested areas or are brought back to holding areas. We need to control potential damage to the soil and avoid the formation of bare soil in order to limit sun exposure and evaporation of moisture.

Cows focus on harvesting the remaining cold season grasses to allow warm season grass to grow. We observe and document the grass growth in these areas.

July 2020

There is no rain. Temperatures are above 30C and may rise to 40C.

Warm season grass (Cynodon dactylon) emerges in differente areas in zones A and C.


Climate

Taken from World Weather & Climate Information for Cordoba:

Temperature

Average min and max temperatures in Villanueva de Córdoba, Spain

Sunhours

Average monthly sunhours in Villanueva de Córdoba, Spain

Rainfall

Average precipitation (rain/snow) in Villanueva de Córdoba, Spain

Rainy days

Average rainy days (rain/snow) in  Villanueva de Córdoba, Spain

As we are in the mountains our temperatures are a bit lower than those around the city of Cordoba. The difference is about 5C which means that during winter we have a few hours of night frost and plants may die because of that.