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Making every blade of grass count on challenging country with portable fencing

Thursday, 28 March, 2024

Cattle grazing behind portable fence

Karapiro dairy farmer Trent Paterson is mastering his pasture management and getting more from every square meter of grass thanks to the power and reliability of Gallagher’s Lithium Solar Energizer technology. Trent milks 300 Jersey cows once a day, runs 350 deer for velvet, and grows around 100 jersey bulls on his 230-hectare farm in the Waikato. 

The farm's landscape has rolling hills and valleys, presenting plenty of challenges with power and accessibility. About half of the farm is fenced with two or three wire electric fences and the balance is traditionally Deer fencing. Trent also grows 12 Ha of maize silage every year and harvests 80 tonnes of grass silage. “Managing my grazing round length has become key to the business. I don’t break feed the deer but everything else is break fed. I don’t measure pasture by plate meter, but I do look at my residuals and have trained my farm manager to look at residuals too,” says Trent. “For me, that’s the key to growing quality pasture and lots of it!”

Trent uses a Gallagher Lithium Solar Fence Energizer to power up his break fences, solving his issues with power and accessibility and keeping his mobs where he needs them to ensure they efficiently graze every paddock. “Making sure we're getting good power to the back of the farm can be quite difficult at times. Using an off-grid, Lithium Solar Energizer ensures plenty of power on my break fencing without an issue,” says Trent. Managing his pasture efficiently means ensuring mobs are fully eating down their breaks to target residuals. “The feed you leave in a paddock is more important than the new grass you’re shifting your mobs onto. If you’re moving mobs too quickly and they’re not eating the pasture down far enough, the pasture is going to be poor when they come back for the next round because they’ve left too big a residual,” says Trent. 

The length of his rounds change depending on the season. “In the spring you're going into a good period of growth, and you can speed up your rounds. Then coming into late summer when you dry off, you push the round out. Then I use my supplementary feed to fill any gaps,” says Trent. His herd produces an average of 85,000 kgMS milking once a day. “I don't target high per cow production or even high production per hectare. The kind of country we farm on is just not meant for that. However, more effectively managing our pasture and making the most from every square meter with the help of portable fencing and break feeding has definitely helped us boost grass growth,” says Trent.

With the Lithium Solar Energizer range up to 53% lighter than previous lead-acid models with a 300% faster charging and longer lasting battery, it’s more so much more efficient. Its smaller size and the lightweight design makes it easy to transport. The energizer also delivers a consistent 7,000 to 8,000 volts on Trents fencing, in all weather, providing a reliable deterrent for livestock. “The Lithium Solar Energizers pretty much ready to use straight out of the box. After only a few hours sitting in the sun you’ve got incredible battery longevity and reliability, even on cloudy days. It’s an ideal, self-sufficient power solution for us,” says Trent.

Maintaining the integrity of his fences is crucial to preventing mobs breaking over and disrupting his carefully planned round lengths, reliable power on these portable fences are crucial. “The Lithium Solar Energizer keeps my mobs where they need to be and helps me execute my pasture management strategy with ease, making every blade of grass count toward my bottom line” says Trent.