Once again we are in the dog days of summer. I hope everyone is able to get some relief from the heat.
We received some much-needed rain in May and June that caught us up for the year. Things were not looking very good on the Noble Research Institute farms at the end of April with no rain at all. When May came, so did the rain and we were all thankful for it, but it brings up my topic for this month water gaps. Everyone prays for rain all summer, but when those prayers are answered with a drenching rain, everyone dreads having to go fix all those water gaps that washed out.
On the Noble Research Institute farms, we have devised some pretty good ideas for cutting down on water gap labor. Granted, there are always going to be those areas that will wash out no matter what you do but maybe some of these ideas will help you cut down on time spent repairing them.
There are a few things to think about before putting in a water gap. The first thing is how much trash, such as big trees falling off the bank, logs, etc., will be flowing through the gap. Basically, what is upstream? Second, is there access to a source of power for electric fencing purposes? If I don't have electric fence capabilities, I start looking for something solid that a cable could be tied to for hanging fencing material. One of the last things is how much water will be flowing through the gap. This will determine if you want to make it a permanent or a break-away water gap.
If electric fencing power is anywhere close, we like to use that over anything else because, on gaps that tend to wash out no matter what you do, we can run a single wire across an enormous water gap in a short period of time and be done with it. Some of the electric fencing companies have automatic cut out switches that will cut the power to the wire going down into the gap as soon as water hits it, thus not killing the power to the main fence. A portable charger can also be used if a set of cattle are only going to be in one pasture for a short period of time.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and I only have so much room. Here are some pictures of different ones we have on the farms. Feel free to call me at (580) 223-5810 any time you have questions.