Thursday, May 24, 2012

Putting up more fencing and Medusahead

I have enough fencing to put up 640 feet of new fence.  Since this property doesn't have irrigation for the pasture I wanted to separate out the back pasture into five separate sections.  Rather than the animals trampling down everything on their way to eat the best stuff I figure that if I keep them in one section at a time they will do a real good job eating down that section before I put them on another.  By doing this the other sections of pasture will be able to grow more fully. 

My plan is to have a driveway all the way down the property line until it reaches the furthest back section.  (Now I don't mean 640 acre sections, I only have five acres total.)  The property line is fenced all the way around.  I did that 15 years ago when I bought the property and Mr. Bug-out renter and I just went around the entire perimeter straightening up the stakes and fences.  Now it's time to finish the cross fencing.  The five pastures have a total length of about 750 feet, or about 150 for each pasture.  The first section was completed many years ago.  The rest, well sort of. 

The second pasture had previously been completed and I had started putting panels in the third pasture but then I took those fencing panels and moved them to the front yard pasture.  I also took a bunch of the panels to use as pens around my fruit trees that are in the front pasture.  Depending on the size of the tree each tree used either two or three 16 foot panels. 

This meant that the backyard sections were missing all their panels.  The t-posts are all pounded in but there's no fencing.  I use cattle and hog panels rather than field fencing.  The field fencing would be cheaper but I've found that between the animals and the grandchildren the field fencing always seems to fail in one location or another.  The panels can be climbed on, even by adults, and they don't bend or sag.  

Yesterday I put half of the new panels out in the pastures leaning up against the t-posts.  Tomorrow I'm going to take half the day off and work out in the pasture.  I'll take the rest of the panels and lean them up against the rest of the t-posts.  Then I'll start wiring the panels to the posts and the ends to each other.  It should take most of the morning but if I do it right it's not something that should ever have to be done least not by me.  

In one of these pastures I threw oat seeds out last fall.  In another of the pastures I threw out wheat seed.  All the pastures have pasture grasses and a bunch of weeds.  It's all stuff that the sheep like and if the things are going well then I'll let it go to seed and let the animals graze on it. 

I found a small patch of Medusahead!  That's a horrible weed that will attach itself to you boot and crawl up your pants leg.  It contains a high level of the mineral silica, making it inedible - actually the animals will try to eat it.  The silica will wear down their teeth and not only that, its spiky head and seeds cut the mouths of animals attempting to graze on it -- from cattle to deer to rodents. Medusahead makes a thick mulch that crowds out other pasture grasses.  The best way to control it is with herbicides, pulling out each plant prior to it going to seed, or burning it.  I have to get on top of this - tomorrow and the rest of the weekend or my pasture is going to be a mess.  I could burn it but the burn window around here is over.  Next spring I will be on the lookout for this invasive weed and burn every plant I see.


  1. The sectioning of pasture is a great idea, just be sure to rotate it faster than you think you need. Most places that section let the currently in use area get worn down to nothing and that's hard to recover from. I'm sure you thought of this while shaking your fist at the Meduasheads.
    Nothing worse than a useless, invasive plant. It probably has a huge root structure as well, don't they all.

  2. Check out "Throwback at Trapper Creek". She gets rapsical about pasture land.