Making the Leap to Mains powered electric fencing and rotational grazing

Grassland management through rotational grazing can see a close to doubling of grass quantity, quality and utilisation if moving from a traditional set stocking regime. One of the perceived barriers is the additional infrastructure required, such as watering points and fencing which are crucial elements in the management of grazing livestock. During peak grass growth, paddocks may need to be split several times and require frequent animal movements to keep on top of grass growth to maximise utilisation and retain quality.

Replacing conventional fencing with Mains powered permanent electric fencing is increasing in popularity and offers significant cost saving providing an extremely reliable and flexible long-term solution that rotational grazing demands. A Mains powered system can be used to supply a live wire around the farm boundary or along sections of the fields. From these points, it is possible to then attach temporary lines from the permanent fence. Flexibility is key in a paddock grazing system and temporary systems added to the Mains or powered by smaller solar powered energizers are ideal.

In New Zealand, most farm fence lines since the 1960s have been made of tanalised pine posts with 2.5 millimetre gauge high-tensile wire for sheep and cattle with five lines for sheep or a single line only for cattle providing good conductivity across large areas if the system has a powerful enough energizer. A correctly earthed system together with high quality components is essential for good conductivity. The objective is to deliver a punch not a tickle and stock will quickly respect this and stay put. Barbed wire has largely become redundant in many NZ units.

Alisdair and Emma Davidson farm at Poldean near Moffat in Scotland running to 800ha with 300ha of improved grassland. The farm climbs from 270ft to 1,760ft, running 360 Salers suckler cows and 500 Lleyn ewes with both breeds chosen for their maternal attributes. They are a GrasscheckGB monitor farm and being part of the programme Alisdair confesses is;