Great Pyrenees Angus keeps an eye on his sheep in the old hayfield pasture.

A combination of portable electric fencing and permanent field fencing has made it possible to manage SkyLines pastures to achieve these three production goals without relying on chemicals:

  • Continuously improve the quality of forage
  • Maximize the amount of available forage
  • Control internal parasites

Depending on the size of the pasture, the sheep spend from three days to two weeks in each pasture. I try to follow the "take half, leave half" aproach, leaving enough leaf surface to allow for photosynthesis and regrowth. Then the sheep are moved to a fresh pasture, allowing the former one to rest, regrow, and begin to cleanse itself of parasites or infective organisms.

The entire farm is grazed two to three times per summer, with rest periods averaging four to six weeks. Wintertime rest periods are four to six months.

Portable electric fencing is a terrific tool for the grazier. However, moving the 3-strand portable electric fencing (3 strands are necessary for keeping sheep in) every few days or once a week has become a burden. It's clear that my time can be more productively spent on other farm projects.

So several years ago I began subdividing the property into permanent pastures of woven wire field fencing with metal T-posts, wooden corner posts and line braces. This is definitely work and an added expense, but it's worth it to me.

I now have the 65-acre farm subdivided into 10 permanent pastures. My goal is 15 or 20 permanent pastures, and then I'll use the portable electric to further subdivide further to allow even longer rest/regrowth periods, and also to help stockpile forage for fall feeding.

Though my use of it has evolved over the years, portable electric fencing has been an integral part of building this sustainable grazing operation, and I wouldn't want to be without it!





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SkyLines Farm 4551 Highway 6 Harvard, ID 83834 208.875.8747
Purebred Romney & Romney-Cross Sheep