Here are some top tips for paddock division when wetting up a rotational grazing systems for livestock producers.

Dividing fields into paddocks serves to regulate the residual sward height left after animals are moved. It’s advisable to envision the farm as comprising multiple blocks facilitating rotations, rather than a single unit. Remember the investment in paddock division can be phased in gradually across the farm. Alternatively, existing field boundaries can be utilised, with group sizes adjusted to minimise the need for significant fencing investment.

One of the best starts is to review the farm map detailing its current infrastructure such as water troughs and permanent fencing.

Infrastructure forms the cornerstone of a simple paddock system. Investing time upfront in setting up infrastructure simplifies cattle movement and paddock creation in the long run. Initially, the system can be established with temporary electric fences and plastic water troughs. Once confidence in the system is gained, infrastructure can be made permanent.

Permanent electric fencing can be employed to create a live wire around the farm perimeter or along specific sections of fields. Temporary lines can then be attached from these points to the permanent fence.

Temporary fences, powered directly from batteries, offer highly flexible field fencing solutions. In instances where one-hectare paddocks are established with permanent fencing, temporary fences can be invaluable for further subdivision when needed.

This approach proves both cost-effective and labour-efficient. For example, during peak grass growth, paddocks may require subdivision to facilitate grazing over a two-day period. Similarly, in spring or autumn, smaller grazing areas may be necessary due to ground conditions. Flexibility is paramount in a paddock grazing system, and temporary fences facilitate this adaptability.

Serious consideration should also be given to infrastructure planning and the judicious use of temporary and permanent fencing to optimise rotational grazing efficiency.

Despite many Scottish farmers being months away from getting cattle outside, it is worth while considering the summer grazing plan now.