25 September 1998

Grazing boundary advances improve production figures

By Jessica Buss

FENCING paddocks for rotational grazing with temporary or semi-permanent electric wire can be quick and easy using fencing systems and leg-work saving gadgets developed in New Zealand.

Fences you can drive over, equipment holders and trolleys for putting up one, two and three line fences, and ATV adaptations to allow quick fencing and removal are all available from Kiwitech.

Other fencing gadgets include fence end holders that allow release from the opposite end of the field and wire height adjusters which will not let fences down accidently.

Kiwitechs owner Harry Wier developed these products to make fencing on his own farm easier and quicker, allowing increased production from grazing. He then developed them to supply demand from neighbouring farmers. In Europe products are distributed by Alliance Pastoralle in France.

Electric fences can be put up quickly using an ATV adapted for semi-automated fencing and de-fencing. A single wire fence can be put up at over nine miles an hour, says John Bailey, Kiwitech Europe, France. The ATV must be stopped so that stakes can be pushed in with one foot, however, wire is reeled out automatically. For de-fencing, stakes are caught between metal fingers on the ATV which pulls them out of the ground.

Flexible 1.6mm high tensile wire and high quality fibre glass posts mean that even temporary fences can be driven over. One wire is suitable for most cattle and two wires are needed for younger cattle and ewes, with three wires best to hold in lambs. A single wire fence can cost from about 17p/m and three wire fence is about 42p/m.

Farms without an ATV can use a trolley fencer to put out up to three wires at a reasonable walking speed pace once the technique has been mastered. Producers putting up a single wire can use a stake and reel holder carried with a shoulder strap, costing about £75.

"Two part insulators can be moved up and down stakes by holding both parts together to suit stock size. But insulators will not move when the wire is stretched by driving over it," says Mr Bailey.

Another useful gadget is the wire holder at the end of a run. This holds wires firm under tension, but once tension is released a few tugs on the opposite end will free the wire so it can be wound in.

Solutions offered for watering stock include quick release couplings that shut off with a twist of the pipe allowing water troughs to be moved. This still takes time when many groups of stock are to be moved. But Micro troughs can supply water in paddocks permanently at low cost. Each Micro trough is suitable for supplying water for 25-30 cows costing about £18 each.

TECHNOSYSTEMSGRAZING

&#8226 Manage stock in small groups.

&#8226 Fields split into strips and then paddocks.

&#8226 Animals moved frequently.