How to Set Up Paddocks For Managed Grazing

Managed grazing means gaining more control of your grazing. When we built our first grazing system 25 years ago, portable fencing using reels and polywire were not part of the equation. Not that there wasn’t polywire and reels, just that I didn’t see how they could work!  Every time we wanted to gain more control over grazing I had to build another hard wired paddock.  Our farm is not flat and laid out with straight 40 acres squares but is sloping and irregular and has creeks and woods and other obstacles which makes building the perfect, identically sized, square grazing systems you see drawn up in the books about impossible.  What we ended up with as I built these smaller and smaller paddocks was a large number of paddocks of various sizes and configurations with lanes leading to water. Looking at our aerial of the farm from that time it looks like a giant’s absent minded doodling. Irregularly sized paddocks made it difficult to estimate the amount of forage in the paddock, therefore making it difficult to know when the cattle need to be moved.  This made it hard to establish a pattern, so the moves to new paddocks didn’t happen at the same time every day. Livestock, as do most people, like events to happen in a predictable manner. When the moves to new grass are done at a different time each day, it leaves the cattl

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One thought on “How to Set Up Paddocks For Managed Grazing

  1. We set up our pastures similarly, making 8 long “super-“paddocks, and have been very happy with it. With fewer cows, we actually just strip-graze it, moving the leader polywire fence a couple times a day, and a follower every 2-4 days. But could set up flexible-sized paddocks as well. It allows for all those points mentioned: variation of grazing intensity and pressure, variation of time between movements, larger fenceless areas when clipping, etc.

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