Stewards of the Land, For Now and the Future

Dr. Kotzeff, also a veterinarian, operates 1,800 acres in Bruce County with 700 acres of that in forages. He continually demonstrates leadership in the implementation of environmental improvements by preserving a number of riparian properties, providing alternate water sources through the use of wells and ponds, and fencing off a number of waterways to prevent the contamination of surface water. Depending on market and pasture conditions, Kotzeff pastures 500 – 1,000 head of cattle each year under his intensive grazing system.

During his career, Dr. Kotzeff has purchased a number of vulnerable riparian properties which includes approximately three miles of the Saugeen River and also includes woodland, smaller permanent/intermittent streams and wetlands. These key features, in his opinion, make the land ideal for grazing cattle.

On grazing sites ranging in size from 50-300 acres, Kotzeff operates an intensive grazing system where he grazes individual paddocks or strip grazes for three to five days with a minimum 45 day rest period between grazing as his goal. Fresh water is provided to each paddock with a variety of systems sourced from ponds and well water.

Unfortunately, forest conditions are declining in his area due to a predominance of agriculture and a decrease in riparian cover. To protect these areas, Dr. Kotzeff permanently fenced 150 acres of woodland and rotates cattle through approximately 30 acres of glade pasture. Where feasible, he also has fenced both sides of treed stone fence rows to maintain habitat and to provide wildlife corridors between woodlands.

“To date, I have found a successful system for maintaining woodland, rivers and streams My next goal is to protect the wetlands unsuitable for cropping  while still using adjacent land in an effective manner,” says Dr. Kotzeff. “I would also like to refine how I integrate my new cash cropping component with my established grazing operation. I want to create economic diversity while maintaining long term productivity, soil health and minimizing the environmental effects.”

Dr. Peter Kotzeff was presented with the 2014 Environmental Stewardship Award on behalf of the Beef Farmers of Ontario.

1The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes the outstanding environmental stewardship of an Ontario beef farmer. Special consideration is given to farmers who have taken innovative approaches towards furthering the environmental sustainability of their food production.