Discovering electric fencing
By Jane Hulton-Harrop
I had used 3 strand electric fencing years ago to ‘strip graze’ lambs on swedes. It was not the most successful process as the sheep would push through or become entangled.
For our holistic planned grazing experiment with 4 Hebridean sheep in 2021 we invested in some electric sheep fencing which worked reasonably well but the flimsy posts did not last long and neither did the battery.
When our starter herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle arrived in November 2022 we were prepared with new high-quality posts capable of taking a single wire to create paddocks for them. As advised, we had bought the most expensive energiser that we could afford and a simple winder that would fit onto ready-wired spools.
For months we had been looking at the map, planning grazing paddocks, and trying to improve the infrastructure of our water system. Worrying about the sizes and shapes of paddock areas, fences, and water access had been an almost constant concern.
Then, once the cattle were here, we stood together, in the fields and everything became clear. We could walk the lines anywhere we chose. We could protect hedgerows, ditches, wild areas, flimsy fencing- anything we wanted. We could fence out woodland edges and water courses all without changing field boundaries.
Suddenly there were so many possibilities. Not only would the electric fencing keep the cattle in paddocks, we could rethink our ecological objectives with no extra expense. It was just another way of seeing things, a different thought process, a new way of managing our land.
Exciting times ahead. The strategic use of electric fencing has given us new freedoms!