“High Voltage Grazing”

Host: Mystery Park
Written by Tess Camm – Owner, Mystery Park.

At ‘Mystery Park’, the primary focus of our business is growing grass – producing the best possible pastures we can using the elements of rain, sunshine, and soil. Around ten years ago we began time-controlled rotational grazing, reaping the rewards of increasing our carrying capacity, improved pasture quality, greater moisture retention in the soil, and therefore healthier soils and ecology.

High Voltage Grazing 1

This year we decided to take things to the next level. Increasingly fragile fences on one part of our property was all the motivation we needed to trial an electric fencing project. The goal of this project was to have a low cost way of better utilising our existing native pastures. While we have significantly increased our carrying capacity and improved the condition of our grass through rotational grazing, we noticed that the smaller paddocks were returning the greatest yields, while underutilised pastures still frequented the back corners of larger paddocks. We believed we could increase our carrying capacity even further by dealing with these small inefficiencies.

After removing the old fences, we had a clean slate to work with. Cell centres were plotted based on existing watering points and the formation of the land. Timber fence posts were recycled (at 20 metre intervals as opposed to the traditional 10 metres for barbed wire fences), insulators attached and a single plain wire was run. It was an effortless process in comparison to our traditional fencing method of timber posts every ten metres and pulling three barbed wires!

High Voltage Grazing 2

We were fortunate to borrow the expertise of Sam Trethewey whose experience with electric fencing was invaluable ensuring the conductivity of the fence was not compromised. On the Central Queensland coast, our fencing strategy had to negotiate big creek crossings, scrub and existing fencing structures – hardly the images they portray in the glossy Gallagher catalogues!

High Voltage Grazing 3

The breeders grazed alongside us as we worked, blissfully unaware of the renovations we were making to their home. After completing the first cell centre, we mustered the girls into the first paddock and waited with baited breath to see how they would react to their new walls of containment. A curious calf was the first victim, leaning his freshly licked little wet nose towards the wire . . . I think its safe to say curiosity beat his cat-like reflexes! A few independent minds has to learn the lesson for themselves, but the fence worked!

High Voltage Grazing 4

A single wire held the mob on their designated grazing patch for the designated time. The new fencing was implemented in March, within our grass growing season, allowing the rewards to be reaped well into the dry phase of the year. We are excited by the results and can hardly wait to continue dividing the rest of the ‘Mystery Park’!