The Power of One Wire

Dr. Matt Poore also contributed to this article. The tools to improve productivity that we have at our disposal are quite astonishing. Computers that allow us to analyze our operations, equipment used to plant/harvest crops to produce feed, and the genetic predictions used to select better livestock are just a few examples of tools that have changed livestock production. As managers we must determine which tools to incorporate into our farms and some will prove to be useful while others will be discarded. In grassland agriculture temporary electric fence has changed everything for us. Reels, poly-wire and tread-in posts coupled with a good energizer allow us to more actively manage our pastures. But, as with most technology, getting started can be a challenge. It helps to know that even the most advanced graziers started with a single strand (or 2-3 strands for small ruminants) subdividing one permanent pasture at the water source. From there, all improvements in your grazing management journey depend on "the power of one wire". So, what benefits does adaptive grazing management - using smaller paddocks and more frequent movement - have on the system? We know that when we only graze for a few days and then rest the grass for a long period the grass stand is healthier and produces more total forage. Furthermore, this approach alte

All the grazing management tips you need

Subscribe to read this article and over 2,500 more!

Subscribe today!

If you're already a subscriber, log in here.

2 thoughts on “The Power of One Wire

  1. Agreed on the value of “Amazing Grazing” resources and workshops.

    Here’s another single wire benefit:
    More efficient use of hay. Wherever we want to improve pastures by feeding hay (see Jim Gerrish’s recent articles) or also exclude animals from a part of that pasture while feeding, we roll a bale out along a single wire. Depending on number of cattle, we put the single wire down the middle and let them finish it up, without soiling it. They feed with their heads toward the wire; their other end NOT over the hay. Then we move the wire over, and they finish the other half of the strip of rolled out hay, still clean so all eaten.

    If just a few animals in a group, we place the wire along one edge of the rolled out hay, and move it over as the cattle finish what they can reach. Again, clean hay, highly utilized.

    This minimizes soiled, wasted hay, concentrates manure and urine where needed most. And we no longer, this time of year, need to go back and remove or (try to) burn excess, thick hay that was soiled or trampled in, that risks choking out established pasture plants hoping to begin spring growth.

  2. Totally believe in the Power of One Wire and for all the same reasons identified by Johnny and Matt. Used it with great success strip grazing on our 640 acre farm at Gunnedah, NSW, Australia. Had to give it up last year when it got so dry that I couldn’t get the pig tail posts into the soil, even when (gently!) using a sledge hammer on the foot tread. We still had plenty of groung cover but I took it as a sign that continuing to graze when there was simply no sub-soil moisture would only cause harm. So, we sold the cattle and there still hasn’t been any relevant rain in the year since. Now, the weather boffins say we’re heading into an El Ninio, which means this will be our 4th year in a row of minimal rainfall. Looking on the bright side, we still have some of the best ground cover in the district, which has certainly been saving us from the dust storms afflicting many of the properties around us in a 60 mile radius. One day, it will rain properly and keep doing so and our pasture should bounce back quicker than on flogged out paddocks, allowing us to get in and buy replacements before the rest of the market has the feed to do the same.

Comments are closed.

Translate »