Integrating Business Strategies Using Electric Fencing
Six years ago, Peter Kotzeff was looking to diversify his farm offerings beyond his cow/calf operation in Chesley, Ontario, Canada. He quickly recognized the many benefits of integrating cash crops into his business and cattle grazing strategy.
Today, Kotzeff primarily farms soybeans with some acreage dedicated to wheat and corn. He also practices a traditional intensive rotational grazing strategy that includes his cattle grazing cover crops to improve the soil and increase plant nutrients of his cash crop operation. “Cropping increases my profitability per acre while the grazing improves the quality of the soil for future planting. I believe the best way to graze the cover crops as well as the pastures is to use temporary electric fencing,” says Kotzeff.
To illustrate his rotational grazing areas, Kotzeff explains he uses permanent wire fencing along the road of his property, then uses single or double wire fencing on the sides and along the back of the farm. Within that perimeter, Kotzeff constructs four or five large interior fields constructed by single strand high tensile fencing.
Kotzeff utilizes Gallagher poly wire spools to easily set up smaller grazing paddocks, or depending on the season, to quickly create areas for strip grazing.
“We install the poly and turbo wire onto reels which makes it easy to roll out to set the fence up or reel in to move the fence,” explains Scott Rooney, Gallagher technical sales manager. “The poly/turbo wire and reels, as well as our temporary posts, are also very lightweight making it easy to continuously move throughout the pasture and also gives the producer the flexibility to graze in many different ways.”
Kotzeff adds that utilizing the poly wire to separate paddocks helps train the calves on electric fencing from day one.
“They learn on their own,” says Kotzeff. “As babies they are able to go back and forth under the wire as they please. As the calves grow, they quickly learn to respect the fencing. The key though, is to always have the next paddock set up so if a calf goes under the single wire, they are still contained.”
Rooney says Kotzeff’s setup of electric gates in key sections of his paddocks allows him to easily move cattle in pasture rotations. “A single strand of poly or turbo wire used in conjunction with pigtail posts and powered by the portable S10 solar energizer provides great flexibility and efficiency,” he says.
Kotzeff agrees. “Portable fencers are so handy and save a lot of hassle,” he says. “Sometimes I don’t need a large energizer to power the whole farm. With the solar energizers, I can just power the area the cows are in.”
Gallagher energizers are designed to be used in portable fencing systems so portability and ease of use is imperative, says Rooney.
“The solar energizers come with a self-contained battery and carrying handle, which allows users to easily move the energizer along with the fence. It can be attached to a wood post or a steel T-post and because of its unique 360-degree T-post mount – it can face in any direction. This is an important feature as solar energizers need to face south to receive the most sunlight,” Rooney explains.
Kotzeff said he moves the cattle to a new grazing area every 2-3 days. When out moving cattle or checking fence, Kotzeff keeps a Gallagher wireless handheld fence tester handy. “They are so fast, convenient to use and can easily fit in your shirt or pants pocket,” he says. “Most importantly, the fence tester tells you exactly where a short is.”
“A fence volt tester is a must,” says Rooney. “It is the only way to troubleshoot an entire fence system because you can test the energizer, fence and the ground system to determine where the problem is located. Gallagher also offers a fence volt/current meter and fault finder that will actually show you where the short is on the fence. Many people spend hours or days trying to find a short and this device will locate the problem very quickly.”
Kotzeff’s testament to the quality and durability of Gallagher products for his fencing needs also extends to the company’s heavy duty gate handles.
“I’ve tried other cheaper gate handles before, but prefer the Gallagher product,” Kotzeff says. “What good is a gate handle if it breaks on you?”
Rooney concurs. He says a large part of Gallagher’s success can be credited to a customer-centric approach to research and development with a strong focus on the end-user needs. “Peter’s gate handle experience is the exact reason the company invests ten percent of its total revenue back into research and development each and every year,” Rooney says. “That’s our commitment to our customers. We want to ensure our products are ready to work just as hard as you do.”