Most of us like to complete a task and move on to the next thing on the list. But when it comes to facility design sometimes it is better to take a step back and think about what you will be doing in the long run. I have stressed the importance of design when laying out your facility in general and your pastures, here’s another thought along those lines.
Using temporary fence can be a valuable tool in finding what works best for your particular set up. When you are starting bare ground, or thinking about redoing your existing design, temporary fence in the form of pipe fence panels or electric tape can offer you an opportunity to study not only the growth patterns of your pasture grass but grazing patterns of your horses and also the way the fence set up fits into your work patterns.
Fence panels are not cheap but generally can be resold and electric tape if carefully rolled up can last through many iterations. By using this temporary fence for one or two seasons you can clearly identify pastures that will provide the optimum productivity instead of just cutting up your fields and then realizing that the lower 20 just doesn’t produce as much grass as you would like and the fence line for that field should have separated that field into three smaller fields rather than two.
You may even find that the ‘temporary fence’ is the best answer for your fields on a permanent basis because the weather changes affect the grass production differently each year requiring a slight change of location. Here in Maryland it is common to use temporary fence in Spring to better control grass access when the growth is rapid while allowing for its removal during fall and winter months when larger open fields are more suitable for fox chasing or eventing competitions.
Again, the key is to think ahead; just as you look to the next corner in the ring as you are riding or past the fence you are approaching you should think ahead when considering your farm layout. And looking ahead may mean using a temporary alternative – even if that alternative proves to be permanent.