New Pasture – Part 1

Back in April we leased an additional 80 acres of new pasture, just across the river from our place. It has been neglected and overgrown and the fencing was not in good shape, but it has lots of potential.  So, the long process of turning this old homestead into great pasture for our cattle began. Rick started by dragging the first 30 acres.


Dragging the harrow over the field breaks up any manure clumps, loosens the compacted grasses and soil, reduces weeds and encourages new grass growth.


He dragged the whole field  – which has a lovely view of the snow-capped mountains to the north – then applied 1/2 ton per acre of granulated lime. Our soil is very acidic so adding lime to the soil brings the pH up. The spreader is the yellow funnel-shaped thing on the back of the tractor.


Next was trenching for the water and electric lines. They covered up the trenches before I got to take any pictures (they are working on a deadline and don’t stop for photo ops), but you can see the bare spots running through the field to each water trough.


After that came clearing the overgrown vegetation so they could build fences. Some of the overgrowth was so high you could barely see the tractor.

tractor high grass

The trees in the fence line had to be trimmed up so they could work underneath.

tree trimmings


There is an old fence in that grass somewhere. Around here if you don’t keep it trimmed it will soon be consumed by vegetation.

existing fence

And then it was time to build fences. Lots and lots of fences. Which required many, many T posts – about 80 per paddock.

t posts

So Rick and Alex pulled strings to lay out the fence lines and started driving T posts.

rick and alex building fence


They have also cemented in over eighty wooden corner and brace posts. Luckily the soil in that field is not nearly as rocky as ours, so the auger on the tractor drills the holes for the wood posts pretty well.


The guys figured out they needed ten individual grazing paddocks of about 2 1/2 to 3 acres each to sustain our herd this summer. We rotate them through so the cattle are always on fresh grass and each rotation lasts about six days – give or take. So they started in one corner and fenced paddock #1 and moved the cattle in.


Then they had six days before the next paddock had to be ready so the cattle could be moved onto fresh grass. It takes the two of them approximately five days to drill the post holes, cement in the corner and brace posts, drive the T posts, install the clips, pull the wire, hang the gates, set the water trough, hook up the water line and install the float on each paddock – if there are no problems and you have all the materials. So they worked hard to stay one paddock ahead of the cattle.

one ahed of the cattle

And the fencing race was on.


6 comments on “New Pasture – Part 1

  1. m l palmer says:

    Thanks for the pictures and it looks like you had some sunny days to work in, AND you won.t have to build the fences again.

    • Brenda says:

      We did have some sunny days – and a lot of rainy ones. Rick and Alex put in so many fence posts in the rain that they joked they wouldn’t know how to do it dry. And yes, we are all looking forward to not building fences again. Someday.

  2. Maybelline says:

    Brenda, I really enjoy your writing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mr. Nick says:

    Looks like fun! Wish I could be up there to help with all that work. Suppose you guys lucked out with the lack of rocks on that new plot of land. Enjoy!

    • Brenda says:

      We wish you could be up here helping with all this work too! We took soil samples before we signed the lease so we were pretty sure about the rocks – or lack thereof.

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