Today I have something special for you; a long-form interview with Björn Johansson from Norway about mob breeding. It’s a very interesting topic that’s not discussed enough, as a holistic, ecological approach to breeding is a big part of regenerative agriculture and holistic grazing.

Books Björn refers to:

  • Tom Lasater ‘The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Raising’ (breeder of the beefmaster)
  • Johann Zietsman ‘Man, Cattle and Veld’ (Dryland grazing, but genetics/breeding for all)

What are your thoughts on mob breeding?

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  1. Gasper

    That was one great talk. I would just like to ask how would one exactly start mob breeding with chickens or geese? Because its harder to figure out which one to cull if you want to breed pasture layer hens.

  2. Paul Tipper

    Very interesting talk, I like the idea of essentially producing your own landrace herd. My only concern related to my context here in Australia, where the climate is quite brittle (still has a coastal influence but prone to droughtiness), is that the emphasis is on grass farming with cattle or sheep numbers based around what the land can support. Unless you had a core mob equivalent to what the land could support in a drought period and bought in stock to fill the gap in good times, you may need to sell good breeding stock. Bjorn did touch on percentages, working with the best 85% in his case I think, but that others might work with the best 40%. I guess if the 40% was your maximum mob size in a drought it might not be too catastrophic…

  3. Rachel

    Thank you so much for this great informative video! I couldn’t finish it in one sitting but I would find myself looking forward to another opportunity to watch more! I have a few goats and a couple cows so far as we slowly are able to acquire animals. We also have American Guinea Hogs. Obviously, the registry wants to know who bred who. I’m thinking we can at least apply the rotating sons from proven sows method as well as the simple action of culling the worst. Any other suggestions of how we might be able to mesh registration with this method? Leaving the registry could be an option eventually if it’s not working well. I think since pigs are also higher turn around (Guinea Hogs less than most other breeds because they take 14 mo to grow out but they still have large litters twice a year) working within the confines of registration might be less difficult than with other livestock.

    • James

      Did you figure out a way to make it work? I too am curious.

  4. Marvin Weber

    Excellent discussion. Thanks Richard and Bjorn!

    I totally agree with “mob breeding” principles, but I learned a lot. I have dabbled with some of these principles before but unfortunately I wasn’t able to continue it. We are starting to work with pasture pig breeding now; and since listening to Joel Salatin discussing his work in developing laying hens we are beginning to play with that as well.

    I really liked some of Bjorn’s quotable lines:

    “Mob breeding is not making winners but rather making sure there are no losers.”

    “When we blind ourselves to the pedigree we look at the actual animal.” (When there is a rare breed that people want to preserve, the temptation is always to keep poor genetics around; and I think we also lose out on the chance to broaden the genetic base.)

    ” We have to get out of the ‘great bull’ syndrome. He’s only one bull.” (We need the broader genetic base afforded by his multiple offspring.)

    I think I will have to listen to it again to get all of what you covered. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing more from Bjorn in the future. His book will be interesting in its long form **with** all the stories!

  5. O


    Thank you, great discussion.

    I too am still confused at a much higher level. 😉

    Richard I think you mentioned you were going to put links and references, could you please direct me to them? I couldn’t find where they were posted.

    Thank you.

  6. Anton

    I finally got to the end of the video. Very interesting topic.

    Does Bjorn have any website besides fb? I’m interested in his work but it seems that he is absent on the interwebs.

    How is that rabbit pen coming along? I live in a country where is not a taboo to eat rabbits so this aspect interests me.

  7. Mandy

    This was really interesting & something I was very wary of but now I find myself giving it ago 😂 so my whole lamb crop next year is now dependent on this & is my main income stream …I have saved a percentage of rams entire & will harvest the bad ones before tupping & good ones early spring when they have regained condition ..I find the limitation being having enough room/grass to accommodate all the rams away from the ewes hence only keeping twice as many as I need .. excited to try this it feels more holistic . Thanks for the video


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