Cattle

Determining Paddock Needs

While technology is often is a distraction and detraction to satisfaction, it provides invaluable tools. My planning will be done through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to maximize performance and efficiency of the farm operation.

Calculated Square Footage: Top Row is with Trees Removed

Acrage2

 

Instead of basing my calculations off of stocking rates and head of cattle, I am going to use the amount of land available.

Through much trial and error, I was determined to find a paddock area that would yield 40 individual paddocks. Complicated by removing trees from my pasture data, I could not simply divide my total area by 40 (although parcel editor seems to be able to accomplish this even though I could not get it to work). So the production process consisted of cutting, merging and various other GIS processes as well as running a python command. Here it is for any other GIS users out there:

arcpy.CalculateField_management(“Pasture_Boundary”,”Acreage”,”!shape.area@squarefeet!”,”PYTHON”)

The python command re-calculates the area of the paddocks in square feet.

In the end, I found that 5,000 square foot paddocks produced 45 ugly-shaped but usable paddocks. Remember that grass growth factors rely on climatic variables. The truth is that grass may not regenerate quickly in a drought situation. So I want to give each paddock at least 30 days of rest with an option for 10-15 to accommodate potential drought situations. I designed 40 paddocks for cyclical use while leaving 5 open for the existing wildlife corridor to be used only if necessary.

Proposed Paddocks

5000sqFT_Parcels

Now it will be easy to determine fencing needs!

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