WITH livestock farmers reporting a focus on grassland utilisation in 2018, the benefits of electric fencing systems need to be assessed and the long term financial and performance gains should be considered.
“The set up costs are obviously much lower with an electric fence than a traditional permanent fence – around 90p/metre compared to £6-8/metre for posts, stock netting and barbed wire – however, this is far from the only reason farmers should consider electric fencing options,” says Rob Massey, pictured, Managing Director of Tru-Test, which markets PEL electric fencing systems and distributes products to over 100 countries throughout the world across four key brands.
“There are significant gains to be made in terms of grassland utilisation. Electric fencing allows stocking rates to be increased because grazing can be managed much more effectively.
“Being able to move a fence, quickly and easily, as seasonal growing conditions change, means you are much more likely to graze grass at the optimum time.
“This particularly applies to ryegrasses that have a short window for optimum regrowth. If ryegrass is grazed with less than two leaves, the plant suffers significantly – affecting vigour and growth. If you wait and graze with more than three leaves, the productively of the plant is compromised as lower leaves are overshadowed.
“Having a grazing system that allows you to manage this effectively will significantly influence the productivity of that grassland, allowing you to potentially double stocking rates in some cases, increasing productivity per hectare by up to 60 per cent. It will also impact on the on-going management of the grass crop – for example, the amount of nitrogen needed by monitoring the grazing platform.”