By Cassi Dutcher • Farm Skills 101 Student
We did so much fencing in Farm Skills 101 Week Two that for two nights I dreamed of nothing but fencing and high-tensile wire.
When creating systems for forage based livestock, appropriate fencing is critical. For the vast majority of the history of agriculture, ruminants were not confined by any fences while grazing, but rather grazed on common lands. One distinct advantage of this is that it allowed for the farmer to determine with great subtlety when to move the heard for optimal pasture and herd health.
Modern agriculture has struggled to find a way to graze ruminants on individual plots of land that allows for the same degree of control. Week two at Farm Skills 101 we learned how to put up a strong, electrified semi-permanent perimeter fence. Within the perimeter fence, moveable fencing can be placed to section off smaller bits of pasture as needed for the herd.
The most skill- and labor-intensive part of the fence was not in placing the majority of the fence posts (as I expected), or even the wire, but rather in the corner bracing systems, called H-braces. There the convergence of wires bordered on art form, and it was wonderful to have opportunity after opportunity to learn the techniques of working with the wire and the wood to ensure a stable structure.