I came away with some great information and ideas. One of the topics discussed was mob stocking. This is basically a system of providing cattle with a limited grazing area which creates a small amount of soil disturbance and ensures sufficient pruning of the pasture. The idea is to mimic the behaviour and result of large herds in the wild (buffalo, wilder beast etc). In the wild these animals naturally bunch together to protect themselves against danger so this is just about replicating this behaviour and it's results in domestic animals.
Each day a fresh area is provided and access to the previous days area is cut off. The area provided should be just enough for the cattle to eat all of the fodder available without wasting any.
You see cattle will not eat what they have pee'd on, pooped on, sat on or trodden on. So if you give them only as much as they will eat in one day they are so busy eating that less becomes in-edible for the above reasons.
In New Zealand this grazing practice is is widely used and is know as strip grazing so since I grew up in a dairy farming community over there it is something I am familiar with.
However I was not aware of how this also helps to build soil fertility. Basically as grass grows it balances out it's leaf growth with root growth, so the taller the grass the deeper the roots.
|You can see in my fancy picture that after the grass has been eaten|
the roots break away self pruning.
So we have been implementing the system with our cow (Freezer 2) and her borrowed buddy (Bozo). In the photo below you can see where the grass on the left has been grazed down and the temporary electric fence on the right.
|The piece of powerline|
|The irrigation pipe|
We now have about 30 of these home made standards and they cost us nothing compared to the $5 each we would have paid to buy them. Because they are flexible you have to hold them at the base to push them into the ground. And while this works fine while the ground is soft from all the rain we have been having they may not work so well when the ground hardens up.
But until then we will stick with these and save some money to buy some proper ones for if/when we actually need them.
Have you made any equipment instead of buying it?