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  • Cattle Diets and Nutrition
  • Grazing and Range/Pasture Management

How do you keep a cow from eating grass on the other side of the fence?

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βˆ™ 2017-01-08 00:06:07

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Though I will provide somewhat of a "band-aid" solution to the problem, the thing you should know is that this is a sign of poor pasture management. Cows that have enough pasture to graze within the confines of the fence-line will not bother trying to stretch wires or break boards to get at the grass on the other side. If your pastures are grazed to the point where they look like Golf greens, you have a big pasture management problem that needs attending to.

Now, the management problem could be either because you have too many animals on your land, or you have no management system in place to allow pastures to rest. However, if you already have a some sort of rotational grazing/management-intensive grazing system in place, the problem may be just in this "sacrifice pasture" you have, and I may be jumping the gun in giving the questioner heck on something he or she is doing right in the first place!

So, what you can do depends on what kind of fence you have. If you got iron panelled fence, I wouldn't worry about it. Iron Fencing is strong enough that it won't give away as easily as a 2" x 6" board or wire. If you got board fence, high tensile or barbed wire fencing you may want to do one of two or three things:

1) Run an electric fence that is nose-level with your cattle. Use the electric fence on a problem section of your board or barbed wire fence. With the barbed wire fence, make sure the wire isn't contacting the wire because this could short out the hot-wire and defeat the electric fence's purpose. With the board fence you could nail electric wire insulators to each post. If necessary, put another wire a couple feet off the ground. With the high-tensile fence, it can be electrified so either you have some wires shorting out on something that is not making it more electrified than it should be. Connection with wire from another fence, tall grass, a tree branch, or lack of grounding from your grounding rod are the possibilities of weaker voltage.

2) (This will work also for high-tensile, barbed and board fencing) Run an extra wire or board below the ones that are large enough for a cow's head and neck to squeeze through. Going either along the problem spot or spots may help alleviate the problem.

3) If you are really desperate, or you have an old dilapidated fence that needs replacing, re-wire or re-board the fence so that the wires or boards are closer together preventing the cow to stick her head through. But I wouldn't recommend this since this is much more work than necessary, much more than simply running an electric fence or stringing up extra wire.

2017-01-08 00:06:07
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2017-07-12 17:18:11
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Modify your grazing management practices so that you are bunching up your cattle in a group and, using electric fencing, moving those animals before they are interested in the grass on the other side of the fence.

By doing this you ensure there's plenty of litter left behind and enough leaf area of the grazed plants so that they can recover fairly quickly before next grazing.


Rest needed for each paddock will depend on your area. Some areas can have as little as 30 days of rest, other areas will need as much as 18 months of rest or more.


The amount of forage you have available will determine several things, from the number of animals you can have in the whole area without causing damage to the resource, to number and size of paddocks needed to graze.


Basically the key thing to remember is don't keep animals on for too long, and don't let the grass rest for too long otherwise it will get ahead of you (as in head out and reach maturity (set seed) before you can get in there and get the animals to graze that piece).


Making these kind of changes, with more management for better grass, more fence posts and daily or once-every-three-day moves, you'll find that the animals won't be reaching under the fence nearly as often as before, and that you'll get more grass then you thought you could have.

2017-07-12 17:18:11
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