What is Winter grazing?
Winter grazing is a favourable manner to get your sheep through the winter. Why feeding your sheep with hay and pit harvested in the summer while you can feed them fresh grass? Winter grazing offers the opportunity to leave your sheep out on the field during the colder months.
Having sheep in the field during the winter months also benefits the quality of grass during spring and summer. As the longer grass is being trimmed by the sheep, it is less prone to dying of frost. In addition, the sheep’s fine hoofs contribute to a firmer top layer and a closed grass cover. Which results in better conditions for the pasture to settle down and start growing in spring.
Important Aspects of Winter grazing
Some important aspects to consider when winter grazing are:
- Keep your numbers low. When grazing for a short period (1 month), a maximum of 4 sheep per acre. When grazing for a longer period, consider lowering the number of sheep per acre.
- Make sure to get your herd of the pasture early Spring. Getting your herd of the pasture early Spring, the grass gets the opportunity to grow strong for Spring and Summer. When leaving the sheep on for too long, the risk arises that they will graze off the young grass immediately.
- Maintain a grass length of at least 5 centimetres. When grass is shorter than 5 centimetres it will have a harder time to grow back in Spring.
- Consider sowing field turnips for optimal nutrition.
- Set up your electric fence properly.
- Make sure to have at least 2 wires. As sheep will be given more land when grazing during Winter, they have a smaller tendency to break out. Therefor, with Winter grazing you need less wires compared to sheep fencing in summer.
- Install a quality energiser. Often sheep are grazing in the winter at remote pastures. This requires a energiser which is durable and of high quality.
- Check your electric fence regularly.
Please feel free to contact Electric Fence Online for any advice on your fencing situation!