Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pasture rotation

When we got our first cattle, we really didn't do any rotational grazing.  It was just a few cows, and we had installed a nice 10 wire New Zealand style perimeter fence with an electric wire inside.  As our herd grew and we experienced growing pains we realized how important it was to rotate and utilize smaller pastures.  The cows always have their favorite areas they would overgraze and others they wouldn't touch.  

We have two main pastures separated by a fenced run (and our house/driveway).  We utilize this separation when the boys need to be kept away from the girls.  Within each pasture we have created many small paddocks, just enough for a few days grazing for the whole herd.  The paddocks are created using hot wire and fiberglass posts.  Yes... there's the occasional fence jumper, but for the most part it works good (as long as the charger is working and wires aren't grounding out).  

This cow made it through the hot wire used to separate paddocks, and was patiently waiting to be let 'back-out' when I got home from work one day this winter.  I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side in January... when the rest of the cows have nice hay to eat in the barn!

We had contemplated installing t-post fencing before we invested too much in the fiberglass posts, but I like our 'temporary' fencing system when it's time for pasture maintenance.  I can drop the ends of the hot wires from the fiberglass posts and drive over the wire to fertilize everything at the same time.  Last year part of our pasture grew faster then the cows could graze, so we easily removed all of the inside paddock fencing so that we could hay the pasture.

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