Prepare Fences & Pastures Now for Spring Grazing

Published on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 11:06am

 Prepare Fences & Pastures Now for Spring Grazing

 Article provided by Gallagher

 After a long winter, fences and pastures may be a little worn for the wear. Taking steps now to plan and prepare for the upcoming grazing season will give producers an advantage going into spring.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​To get fencing and pastures up to par, Gallagher Territory Manager Wes Chism suggests some tips for pasture managers to get a plan in place.

Walk the fence line
According to Chism, first up on the spring to-do list should be walking the fence line.

"This is the best thing producers can do," says Chism. "Check all the fence wires, posts, braces and grounding system."

For temporary fences, Chism says make sure wires are not broken or frayed. Likewise, check for rusted or broken wires on permanent fences as well.

"I always check my grounds," Chism says. "Then run my energizer to make sure everything is very conductive and I have the proper voltage going through the fence lines."

Spring is also a good time to make fence improvements, Chism notes.

"It's when your ground's the softest and easiest to work with," says Chism. "If you need to replace a post or let's say have a fence line you are going to be changing out, that's the time to do it."

Check out Gallagher’s Fence Selection tool at: www.PlanMyFence.com.

Rotate pastures, control weeds
An additional spring concern for pasture managers is weed control. This is where, Chism notes, rotational grazing comes into play. Rotational grazing is a management strategy which includes both grazing and rest periods for pastures to maximize forage growth and encourage desirable plants and plant parts.

"You can utilize rotational grazing to optimize your grass growth and minimize your weed infestations," says Chism. "As you rotate around, you get your animals off there before you do any damage to the plants or soil. This will keep the weeds from coming up and that way we don't have to use chemicals."

The benefits seen from implementing a rotational grazing program include more forage, more plant diversity, greater control of grazing heights, and opportunities to extend the grazing season. Chism remarks, some of his customers who raise cattle have increased their pasture's carrying capacity anywhere from 22-30% by making the switch to rotational grazing methods.

Chism recommends the following Gallagher products for those interested in setting up a rotational grazing program as part of their spring pasture prep:
• Energizers: Gallagher’s 110v Energizers and Gallagher’s Range of Solar Energizers
• Wire:  Turbo Wire and Turbo Braid
• Accessories: Geared Reels
• Posts: Ring Top Posts, Heavy Duty Pigtail and Treadin Posts or Tumblewheels

Ongoing management
Once a good management plan is in place, a pasture manager's work is still not finished. As the season progresses, steps will have to be made to prevent overgrazing.

Chism advises producers to develop a flexible grazing plan. "You have to watch the grass the first few times through and see how it works," he says. "You have to give it enough resting period after you pull your animals off. Have at least 3-4 paddocks to go before you come back to that one so each has at least 3-4 weeks rest."

The better care pastures receive, the better environment they will provide and more productive they will be for grazing livestock. Taking the initiative to plan and prepare now, will ensure pasture managers are prepared for whatever the coming spring and summer grazing has in store.