Diagnosis Mode

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When a problem strikes, it’s useful to quickly work out what the root cause might be, and that’s often more difficult on a farm, where there is the added dimension of biological complexity to deal with.  

There is a simple and quick way to attack the problem.  It is based on two things:
  1. Knowing approximately where your location is on the brittleness scale
  2. Assessing how each of the six tools have previously been used
When assessing the tools used you are usually looking backwards the last 30 to 50 years, because landscapes take a while to change unless there has been a massive (usually technological, like a tractor and plough) intervention.  

Your objective is to see if the problem is a ‘natural’ problem, or whether your management actions (and perhaps those of others before you, if you have not been the responsible person for very long) might be leading to the problem.  

Essentially, each tool can be used one of two ways.  For instance, if the tool of ‘grazing’ has been used at any time on your land, you can only have used it as either ‘grazing’ or as ‘overgrazing’.  Depending on brittleness, each leads to differing outcomes.

Similarly, if ‘rest’ has been used, it can only have been used as either ‘Partial rest’ or ‘Total rest’.  There are no other choices, and again, depending on brittleness, each leads towards different outcomes.

How to diagnose
Download and complete a Blank Diagnosis worksheet. A completed sample is shown below.

From this you will begin to see if your management has in any way contributed to the problem.  If you conclude that it has, then you can start to test new ways of doing things that might give you more movement towards rather than away from your holisticgoal.

Hint: Over the years I have found that doing the opposite of what you are doing now, works very well!

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