Grazing Grass Podcast : Sharing Stories of Regenerative Ag

On today's episode, I dive into the equipment I use for fencing on my farm.  

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Creators & Guests

Cal Hardage

What is Grazing Grass Podcast : Sharing Stories of Regenerative Ag?

The Grazing Grass Podcast features insights and stories of regenerative farming, specifically emphasizing grass-based livestock management. Our mission is to foster a community where grass farmers can share knowledge and experiences with one another. We delve into their transition to these practices, explore the ins and outs of their operations, and then move into the "Over Grazing" segment, which addresses specific challenges and learning opportunities. The episode rounds off with the "Famous Four" questions, designed to extract valuable wisdom and advice. Join us to gain practical tips and inspiration from the pioneers of regenerative grass farming.

This is the podcast for you if you are trying to answer: What are regenerative farm practices? How to be grassfed? How do I graze other species of livestock? What's are ways to improve pasture and lower costs? What to sell direct to the consumer?

Welcome to the Grazing
Grass Podcast, episode 103.

You're listening to the Grazing Grass
Podcast, sharing information and stories

of grass based livestock production
utilizing regenerative practices.

I'm your host, Cal Hardage.

Cal: You're growing more than grass.

You're growing a healthier
ecosystem to help your cattle

thrive in their environment.

You're growing your livelihood by
increasing your carrying capacity

and reducing your operating costs.

You're growing stronger communities
and a legacy to last generations.

The grazing management
decisions you make today.

impact everything from the soil beneath
your feet to the community all around you.

That's why the Noble Research
Institute created their Essentials

of Regenerative Grazing course to
teach ranchers like you easy to follow

techniques to quickly assess your forage
production and infrastructure capacity.

In order to begin
grazing more efficiently.

Together, they can help you grow
not only a healthier operation,

but a legacy that lasts.

Learn more on their website at noble.

org slash grazing.

It's n o b l e dot org
forward slash grazing.

On today's show, we are going to talk
about the equipment, I use on my farm.

I've used a lot of different types of
equipment over the years, and I'm going to

tell you what I like to use, what I buy,
as well as a couple brands that I avoid.

Granted, I'm using my experiences.

Your experiences may differ, but it has
taken me a while to settle on these,

so I hope this is beneficial for you.

Currently, I have three
types of energizers.

The first one I have is just
a little Gallagher solar.

I want to say like a S15.

It's not very big at all and I have
a very specific use case for it.

If you listen to the podcast for very
long, you know on my dad's farm we

have permanent pastures, subdivisions.

So I'm able to go in and I can
string up a single poly wire from

one side of the fence to another.

And that little Gallagher solar
powered energizer works really good.

to power that single stretch.

I have powered more stretches with
it, but I quickly run to the end of

it maintaining a good charge, because
want it to put out a few kilovolts,

so those animals know not to touch it.

And it works really good in those cases,
and I just ground it to the fence.

Now granted, when you're grounding
to a fence, you think, Oh, this

fence has a lot of posts in the
ground, a lot of connections,

it's going to be a great ground.

Be careful with that, because a ground
is, as far as I'm concerned, the

most important part of your fence.

If you're hooking that clip to a T post,
make sure that T post isn't all rusty.

I prefer to hook it to a wire
that's nice galvanized and it'll

make a better connection there.

If you connect it to that, it's
got a lot more points to connect to

the T post and go into the ground.

I think that just works better rather than
a single point on the back of a T post.

To be honest, that's not my preferred way.

I have some little three foot
ground rods that are a tee and

they go right in the ground.

I much prefer to use those if I can, but
occasionally I don't have one with me or

something along that line and then I will
hook that clip to a tee post or to a wire.

I just want to make sure it's
making a good connection.

And then, one thing I do suggest,
test that fence every day.

In fact, I didn't put down
on my list a fence tester.

A fence tester is highly valuable.

In fact, I use a speedwright
remote even though I'm not using

speedwrights most of the time.

I like that it gives me a
digital display of how many votes

are going through that fence.

And if there's losing some along the
fence somewhere, it tells me what it's

losing and the arrow and points that way.

They are expensive and I think
Gallagher has one that will do the

same thing, I just haven't used it.

I started with SpeedRyte or StayFix
remotes and I have just continued to

use them even though I'm not necessarily
using their energizers all the time.

For the other properties we lease,
I don't have those short runs, I

have much greater runs of fence.

In fact, in both of the long term leases.

I have a high tensile wire put up
that I use as a feeder wire basically.

Now, as I've done that, I should have put
up that feeder wire in a different place.

At least on one of the properties,
but that's a learning experience.

The feeder wire carries it on
places that I have short term.

I don't have any high tensile
up, but I do use my same.

Energizer setup that I'll
talk about in just a moment.

So on those high tensile feeder
wires, I have a Cyclops solar box.

It's probably got some
kind of technical name.

I probably should have looked that up.

It uses a Cyclops charger in there.

I think I have a Brute or a
Champ and it's the box is built.

It has the solar panel mounted on it.

It's got the solar charge
controller inside it.

You just have to pick up a
marine deep cycle battery.

Works really good.

It has been my favorite.

I do have two of those.

One of them I'm having a little
bit of trouble with, but it's, I'm

thinking my solar charge
controller needs changed out.

I think it's messing up.

I've got to do some testing and see it.

I'm bad news on it though.

I put it in back my pickup, had a trailer
on and I cracked the solar panel on there.

So I've got to buy a new one, a new solar
panel for it, but that was user error.

And that happened last week.

In addition to the Cyclops, which I use
all the time, on the home farm, or dad's

place, I have a Stayfix or Speedrite.

Sorry, those two brands combined.

I use, I have a Speedrite that plugs in.

And we use it to power some lines here.

I don't use it very much because I've
had a lot of trouble keeping it going

just because I'm running that hot wire
right against a bob wire fence or a goat

wire fence, field wire fence, and just
keeping that wire off the fence has given

me some trouble with the upkeep of that.

It's actually something I need to work on
a little bit more and it'd make dividing

dad's pastures up a little bit easier.

then maybe even using
that little Gallagher.

But that little Gallagher solar
charger works really well.

In the past, I've used some other brands.

Those three brands I've
been the happiest with.

I have tried to over purchase on Jules.

The Gallagher solar charger
is not a over purchase.

It's a little tiny one.

I think dad and I was talking
about when we purchased that one.

Dad's much more, we, they
shouldn't cost that much.

I'm more like let's buy as much
as we, we think is reasonable

to handle everything we need.

And that's what I love about
those Cyclops solar boxes with.

a brute or a champ in those.

They just work so well.

Both those properties are around 80
acres, just so you can give an idea.

And I've got one feeder wire and then
I'll run, I may have up to five or

six reels running off that at a time.

One of the places I may run up to
four deals of electro netting off it.

So they do a really good job with
that, even though the electro

netting causes a lot more spots for.

It to ground out.

Just talking about the
feeder wire I have up.

It's this high tensile
12 and a half gauge wire.

For the line post, I use Pasture Pro.

They work really good as long as
there's no force left or right on them.

As long as they can just stand
up and they hold the wire off

the ground, they work great.

If it's pulling a direction on it,
they'll bend over a little bit.

So I do not use them for any corners
or change in direction or my end post.

And for my end post, I'm using I want to
say inch fiberglass that I pounded into

the ground, and when I pound it in, I
don't pound it in straight up and down.

I pound it with a 10 degree
leaning back away from the fence.

On, at the end of the fence,
it's leaning back 10 degrees.

Go in, a little bit of angle,
that way when it pulls, it

straightens up just a little bit.

When I do a change of
direction around a corner.

I just lean it back into that corner.

So both wires are pulling it forward
and that works reasonably well.

I put them in the ground, drill a
hole in them, connect them with just

some soft wire, some bailing wire.

On the pasture pro, I drill a hole and
sometimes I use cotter pins and sometimes

I just use some kind of soft wire or
baling wire to hold it up on the fence.

On the fiberglass posts, I paint
them with white enamel spray

paint after I get them in place.

Works reasonably well.

Now when we move on beyond those high
tensile wires, I'm using my reels

and I'm putting out some poly braid.

I'm using tread in post.

And I am a huge advocate
for O'Brien Tread N Posts.

I've used a number of other Tread
N Posts, usually locally sourced,

and I think I could look at
them wrong and they would break.

I have since gone to whenever I need
some Tread N Posts, I just buy a box

of 50 O'Brien Tread N Posts from,
Ken Cove or American Grazing Lands

or Powerflex and get them here.

has worked so well.

I think out of however many hundred I
have one with one broken clip and that

was the clip was up and the wire got
twisted around it and I was pulling on the

wire and really, I don't, I really don't
know how I put that much strength on it.

But anyway, it broke off that little bit.

Still usable.

I do have one that's smashed
but still works great.

Otherwise, it's amazing.

They can bend over, they pop back up.

I think they're really
worth the investment.

If you are going to use Tread Impost, go
ahead and spend the money for O'Brien's.

You'll be happy you did.

In fact some of these things,
Energizer, spend the money for it.

Tread Impost, spend the money for it.

Polybraid, I think you could
get by a little bit cheaper.

You could get by with a
little bit cheaper reels.

But I'll tell you what I
go ahead and use on those.

So when I'm putting up those temporary
runs, I'm using O'Brien Tread and Post.

Now I do use some ring top posts
occasionally, especially if I'm

turning a corner or changing direction.

I like those.

And for those I use a Gallagher ring top.

I have used a number of different pigtails
and I'm just not a fan of any of them.

The ring top seemed to be my favorite.

Now the ring top, the
big disadvantage of it.

is I only have a single height I
can put that wire that's one reason

I like to tread in post, I can
lower that wire, I can raise it,

depending on my needs at the time.

Ring top does not give me that ability,
but it does provide me a little bit

stouter post for that change of direction.

I have recently just purchased a handful
of the Gallagher ring top multi wire ones.

To see how they work and
actually little spikes on them.

They've got two spikes and both those
spikes are metal where the ring top

that I have has that metal from the
post spike, but then the other spike

that you step on is just plastic.

I've not had any trouble with that,
but those multi wire ringtop posts

are made a little bit heavier.

Just my initial reaction.

I haven't put them next to each other and
I haven't used those multi wire ones yet.

Something on the O'Briens as I look at
my notes that I didn't cover, you can

buy those in a few different colors.

I've gone with white.

To me that works reasonably well.

I have heard some arguments
against having white if you're in

an area that gets a lot of snow.

I would assume they'd be
hard to see against snow.

It's not a great big problem for me.

Very rare is the issue.

I like the white.

It works really well.

One thing I've seen people use the
tread in post, the ring toffs, the

pigtails, to figure out some way to
hold the reel at the end of a run.

Every time I do that,
it just does not last.

I've tried different things using like
three tread in posts, a couple at an

angle or something, or a pigtail or
ring top with a tread in as a brace

or even another pigtail as a brace.

I've not found anything I really like.

So what I use is a terra post.

And it is a steel post and goes down.

All the way down to it's got three little
legs out that really hold it stable.

They're more expensive than
anything else, or a lot of

other options, but I like them.

I think they're valuable.

I have a couple of them, and
I'll probably get a couple more.

Because that really, for me, works
really well to make that corner or that

end of a run right out in the middle
of somewhere where I can't hang a post.

or hang a reel on a fence or something.

I have used and I do have a power
post reel stand and one thing I

really like about that it actually
you can unclip it and It's got a

center part that can raise up and down
to, to hammer that into the ground.

So if you have really hard
ground, that is easier getting

the ground than the TeraPost.

I don't use it as often, but
I will use it occasionally.

So both of those I really like.

I'll probably increase the number
of TeraPost I have, and also those

come with a hook for one reel.

If you're going to do multi wires off
that, you've got to buy a second adapter,

or second reel holder to put on it.

For reels, I have a whole bunch of
reels and a whole bunch of brands.

And I have one brand I won't buy again,
and I have a couple brands that I prefer.

Probably my favorite at
this point are the O'Briens.

All my reels, I say all my reels, all
my standard size reels are geared.

So they're 3 to 1.

Huge difference when you're rolling
out fence and getting it back in.

The smoothest feeling reel?

To me, are the terragates,
but I have had trouble.

I've had one ship to me that when I
got it, the gears inside didn't work,

and I had a second one that after a
little bit of use, the gears inside

quit working, and then the handle would
just spin and it's not doing anything.

I had to hand crank it up.

I was able to get a hand rolled back
up, and then it started working.

I should have known better, but I used
it until it messed up for me again.

Terrogates, I will not
buy any more of those.

I've talked to one of the vendors
and I've got gears to change it

out, but to be honest, I buy those.

I don't want to fix the
gears on the inside.

I want them to work when I get them.

So I won't be buying any more Terrogates.

I will lean towards O'Briens.

Or, I really like my Gallagher.

I only have one Gallagher geared reel.

Until last week, but I've only got one
that's got all the features like a guard

on your hand deal hand on your grip and
a little lever that holds it onto the

fence I've heard of people talk about
how that's really beneficial, keep their

animals from knocking it off the fence.

To me, it's just features I don't need.

I'm not running into that problem.

If I was running into that problem,
then I would probably want that

little latch to keep it on the fence.

And what I'm talking about, you've
got that single hook up there.

It's got a little plastic lever
that flips over and closes that gap.

So it doesn't come off.

So to that end, I was at the feed store
the other day and they had Gallagher

reels and I'm needing another reel.

And they had a Gallagher Economy reel.

So it's a reel without all those extra
features that I don't think I need.

So I purchased it.

Now I know right off, I don't think
I'm going to like the handle of it.

But I'm going to try it and
see how it works for me.

So to summarize that, my favorite
are the O'Brien geared reels.

A Gallagher comes in second, and
there's a few other brands I find okay.

I do not buy Taragate
geared reels anymore.

Also, when you're buying reels, some
reels come with a single metal hook.

That's what I want.

There are some reels
that'll have two hooks.

I have a couple of those and
they are my least favorite.

For one, they don't work with my tarapost.

They work great if I'm running
up to a barb wire fence or I'm

connecting to my feeder wire.

Actually, to be honest, I don't even
like them all connecting to my feeder

wire because then I wrap the poly braid
around it to make a connection, and it

just doesn't wrap around those two hooks
as well as it wraps around a single hook.

So I will not buy any
double hooked geared reels.

In addition to the geared reels, I
have a couple of mini reels that are

just one to one, so I have those for
if I need something really short.

And my favorite right now
is the Gallagher Minireel.

It's got a pin that works as a
stop, which works better than the

others I have, and it's orange.

And being an Oklahoma State
alumni, I am a fan of orange.

I don't use those often.

I will sometimes use those to cross a
gate, or if I need to, if I'm driving

cows to cross an area to block it off.

If I'm getting cows in, sometimes I
use that reel versus a bigger reel.

I don't use them often, but
occasionally it's nice to have.

On most of my reels, I
use a zammr handle on it.

And that gives me the option
of having a dead handle.

It's plastic so I can hook it on.

To the wire and it can be in the plastic
so it doesn't carry any current down that

wire as I'm doing whatever or I can put
it in another space and it's metal on

the wire and it electrifies that reel.

I really like that because it
gives me the options of either way.

And I do whenever I buy a new reel
that plastic handle I take off

and I put that zammr handle on.

Now I hold on to the plastic handle
because the zammr handle, handle,

does not work with my Tarapost.

So in that case, if I'm hooking up
the end of the wire to a TeraPost, I

use one of those plastic handles and
then I hook the zammr handle to that.

And I know American Grazing Land has it.

I'm sure Kenco, Powerflex probably has
those too, but I really like those.

For my wire, I'm using poly braid.

I like the visibility of it.

It's a little bit bigger.

I have used that Gallagher smart,
Smart fence, which is the four wires

all put together a it's a really
a engineering design marvel How

good it works, but the wires just
so thin I'm not a big fan of it.

And I've got some other wires that
are thin, and I don't like those.

I like poly braid because
they're thicker, more visible.

And then I always buy the one
with the nine mixed metal strands.

So it has six stainless steel strands,
and three copper strands in it.

And I really like those, and
those work really well for me.

I'm not Partial to any one brand.

I've used a lot of different brands,
as long as it's the thicker type with

the nine mixed metals, I like it.

Now, something else that I use
that I'm trying to use, that

is still in the early stages.

So I'm going to tell you what I'm
trying to get to work and you all

may be able to help me on this.

When I'm carrying tread in posts, and I
do a lot of my fences by walking, I've

thought about buying a UTV and ATV.

In fact, there's a question
in the grazing grass community

about UTVs and ATVs set up.

I'm interested to see what you all
have and how you have them set up.

For me, I walk, so I
carry 10 to 12 foot posts.

Tread in post, and then I've got
the reel going, and I can do that.

10 to 12 is about the max number of
tread in posts I want to carry in that.

And it's not real
comfortable to carry those.

I was on Amazon one day, and came
across the firewood carriers.

And they have some that's just opened in,
both ends are open, and you can lay the

post in, and wrap it around and carry it.

I have one.

It has worked okay.

It's too narrow.

I think it's 18 inches.

So I want one that's wider.

And then the handles are too long.

I need them shorter.

But that's worked really well.

I actually have one ordered
that's a little bit different

dimensions to see how it works.

I will be sure and let everyone
know in the grazing grass

community how that goes for me.

And if I like it, if I can
find one that works good.

But it's really nice to be able to carry
that in my hand and not have them under

my arm, pinching my arm or my side.

I hope today's episode talking
about equipment that I use for

fencing beneficial for you.

I'm sure you have some
other tools that you like.

Feel free to share those, especially
if you're in the grazing grass

community or on the grazing
grass podcast post about it.

Let's find out what you're using,
what finds, what works well for you.

So if someone's looking out
there thinking, I need to get

started, what should I go get?

Here's our suggestion.

Until next time, keep on grazing grass.