August 9, 2012
Darrel Franson of Mt. Vernon, Missouri, has increased his grazing intensity over the years because he found he was getting higher efficiency with more paddocks.
Rather than keep adding fences he took out the permanent fences and began using all temporary fence for daily moves.
Since his farm is divided into 40-acre units with water at the center of each it was easiest to keep grazing in a wagon-wheel pattern, going around each one in a more or less circular pattern.
At one time these 40-acre units were subdivided with single-wire, high-tensile electric fences to create eight, five-acre paddocks. On each of these Franson usually grazed his cows two days before moving on.
He decided to experiment with a single subdivision in these and he found he could get three days grazing in each. Then he subdivided the subdivision and found he could get four days where he once got two. Then he split each of those again and found he was getting six days grazing where he once got only two.
At that point he took out the permanent subdivision fences and went strictly to poly wire and Gallagher company's tumble wheels, which are no longer in production. The 40-acre units have electric fence all the way around the outside, so when Franson unhooks the poly wire and tumblewheels the fence goes dead. When he reconnects the poly wire reels after each move the temporary fence is electrified again.
Today he still uses the 40-acre units for recording total cow days or other animal days of grazing and typically moves his cow herd once or twice per day, depending on forage production and how much he gave them the last move.
To see read more about Franson's operation and recordkeeping triumphs, read the August edition of Beef Producer magazine inside your own Farm Progress publication.
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