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Simplicity in your grazing system

In the course of a year we see a lot of grazing systems, some have been in place for years and others are still in the planning stages.  There is a lot to consider when setting up your system such as type of livestock, terrain and soil.  These are very important factors in every system but today we want to discuss a topic that is often over-looked.  Is your system simple and functional for the person who will actually be out doing the work?

If you are going to be the only one operating your system you can easily set it up for your convenience but if others, such a spouse, children or neighbors will be helping out it is even more important to consider the simplicity and ease of use in your system.

Portable fences, gateways and water system need to be user friendly.  Remember to consider the size of your helpers.  Young children learning responsibility and helping out around the farm may not be able manhandle heavy equipment or hard to function gates.

  1. For portable fences using reels and polybraid consider the length of runs that will be needed. Runs of 660 to 880 feet will make for lighter reels when filled with polybraid than a half-mile or even quarter-mile run. They will also require fewer posts and it is much easier to carry ten or twelve posts than two or three dozen. A little extra planning when setting up paddocks can make sharing the labor much easier down the road.   
  2. When possible, it is handy to jump electricity from permanent electrified fences to portable fences because it does not require moving an energizer. At least one electrified strand of hi-tensile wire around the perimeter of your property will add a lot of flexibility to your system.
  3. No kick handles and jumper leads make connecting and electrifying your polybraid much easier.
  4. A geared reel with a 3:1 ratio helps you wind up your polybraid at a normal walking speed.  We also recommend keeping extra reels wound and ready for use.
  5. A reel with a guide will decrease the odds of getting the polywire twisted and crossed over even if the person winding the reel has little to no experience.
  6. At your gateways it is easy to make low cost jumper wire hook ups but these may not be the easiest to use for you or your help.  A gate actuator can make all the difference. The actuator plate is energized with a jumper wire and the gate handle hooks into it. When in contact your gate is hot when you remove the gate handle it is not.  This helps eliminate some of the fear associated with working with electrified gates ways for younger children or neighbors who may not be accustomed to electric fence.
  7. Bungy is an excellent option for your gate.   It gives you lots of distance flexibility and retracts well. It does not take much strength to reconnect a bungy gate.  Our electrified rope products also work well for.  Check our products for rope gate kits.
  8. There are many gate handle options so this really comes down to personal preference but one with a nice cuff that fits easily in the hand lessens the likelihood of an inadvertent shock. The use of a rope clamp can help you avoid loose or dangling conductors that might also lead to a shock.
  9. Extra bungy or rope gates can come in very handy when you need to close off a lane or direct livestock flow.  It is simple to make a few ahead of time or take advantage of our pre-made gate kits.
  10. Outfit a small toolbox with basic supplies for quick repairs.  Pick a place to store the tool box that will make it easy to find for a neighbor or helper that may not be familiar with your farm.  Including some basic repair instructions can come in handy for help that may be filling in while you are away from the farm.

Taking a little time to consider the simplicity of using your grazing system can allow the whole family to participate in the operation.  It can also make it possible to friends and neighbors to help when you take a much needed vacation or in the case of an emergency that keeps you away from the farm.