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Permaculture on a Nicaraguan cattle farm


Joined: Jan 31, 2010
Posts: 2
Location: Nicaragua
Hello, I am looking for people that would like to volunteer their knowledge onsite in Boaco, Nicargua. I happen to have the oppurtunity to develop a working farm from the ground up. This farm's goal is to be a successful cattle ( beef, milk) farm, while at the same time following organic and permaculture practices. This farm ( about 150 acres ) is located among many other cattle farms that have been around for a while. If we can be successful with our venture, then the other farmers would be willing to copy our practices. This fact alone will help spread the spirit of permaculture. What do I consider successful, healthy animals, healthy trees dirt plants, healthy farm hands, less animals on the farm but produce the same yields as other farms. I am not  experienced in bringing the permaculture practices
to a large piece ( 150 acres) of land. All I have learned is self taught, I am hoping to have the chicken rotating into the paddocks by 2011. I can offer shelter and food during your stay, the length of your stay can be your choice. We were thinking 2-4 weeks. If this adventure has some appeal to you please drop me a line.
Best Regards
Marsha Hanzi

Joined: Sep 10, 2009
Posts: 20
Location: NE Brazil drylands
Hello "Nicaman"

I suggest you get in touch with the people from Holistic Management, who have a whole system for desiging and managing larger areas, and look into publications by  Joel Salatin- they will show how to have MORE animals while recuperating the soils.  The key is to keep them moving, intensive stocking for minimum time. Joel also discovered that if you wait for the grass and herbs to get a bit "oldish" with abundant calulose, the result is better.

The cow´s stomach is designed to digest roughage, not the protein-rich fresh pasture which most people offer.  And if you wait a bit for the pasture to go dense, a lot of the material will be trampled into the soil, thus creating instant mulch and making the pasture even better than it was before.

They are even playing around with throwing out seeds of certain crops and letting the cattle hooves dig them into the soil.  We tried that here in the tropical drylands of Brazil and observed that if the soil is fertile (which is definitely NOT our case) corn looks like it will grow and produce without further care- an idea definitely worth going after.

Look for articles on ACRES USA web about "mob stocking".

As you are in the humid tropics look into local fodder trees - the local farmers will know. 

Hope this helps!

Marsha Hanzi
Marizá Epicentro de Cultura e Agroecologia
Bahia, Brazil

Joined: Jan 31, 2010
Posts: 2
Location: Nicaragua
Thank you for info, I have been reading J. Slatin's work. We are excited about the prospect of getting 30-40% of chicken meals for free. We will be planting corn for the other 60%.
So i like the idea of the cattle doing some of the work  :0)
we can not decide in the style of chicken coop, though.  There is no tractor here to move the coops daily. So we were thinking of having 2 coops in between 4 pastures each. We would open the side of the coop that we would want the chicken to exit.
Thanks again.
Galen Johnson

Joined: Mar 01, 2010
Posts: 24
Look into Management- Intensive Grazing or MiG, which you can find on the Internet.  Actually, this method is against the principles of permaculture, since it calls for a lot of human effort (the management-intensive part) for results, whereas permaculture stresses low-human-input for high returns.  But it will give you some ideas.  Diversify your ranch.  Do not run a monoculture of animals on it.  Keep horses especially, they do the work, as the Amish can tell you.  Start with a hydro map and locate your water resources and potentials first, then build ponds and food forests around that.  Go slow, do a thing at a time.

Incidentally, I'm moving to Nica in a year or so.  Since CR went up to a 1000 a month for residence, there will be a lot of people looking at going to Nica.

Unlimited growth: the ideology of capitalism and cancer cells.

Joined: Mar 30, 2010
Posts: 1
Hello my Nicaraguan brother. I am from Costa Rica, I will write in English because I do not know if you are really Nicaraguan and speak Spanish. Anyways, my wife and I will drive our truck to Costa Rica from USA where we are currently. We'll start this adventure in August, so even if i do not have a secure day for us to get there I would assume that After October. I am Permaculture Design certified and would love to help for food and lodging. We want to work to learn, I know this is a late response but i just joined this group. If you are interested in having some volunteers my wife and I would love to help. Whatever happens I hope you find in permaculture the path for your change towards sustainability,

Pura Vida!

Jorge (koki)
Wyatt Smith

Joined: Feb 19, 2010
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6


I want to be involved!!!

I'll send you a private message. 

I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
subject: Permaculture on a Nicaraguan cattle farm