In farming it’s easy to get into a rut where something isn’t working but you don’t have time to fix it, so you just live with it. Sound familiar? No one can be proactive about everything, but I promise, if you use multiple nets or different sizes or types of netting, this one small, inexpensive 5-minute action can make netting use a whole lot easier.
It’s not rocket science. It’s as simple as painting the end posts of your netting, but it does have to be done right. Painting your endposts accomplishes two important things, but the repercussions involving those things are many. The two major benefits are:
- You know the fence length at a glance
- You can easily find the ends
You Know the Fence Length at a Glance
Before I painted my post ends, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at bundles of netting laying on the ground or deployed out in the field, wondering what sizes they were. Sometimes I knew I needed a shorter-length fence to finish a run. Which fence is the little one? Yes, I can sometimes gauge by looking, and certainly by weight if I have two bundles side-by-side to pick up. What if they are both the same size? I still don’t know what size that is.
This is the quick, easy answer to a bunch of your problems. Paint the end posts of your different lengths of fences different colors. I use red for one size and purple for the other. The red is always the shorter, and the purple is always the longer. I can tell what size they are when wadded up, or from half-way across the field. This relieves the anxiety and extra work from getting most of the way through deploying a fence only to find that it is the wrong size. What a pain!
You want to choose colors that have meaning. The choice of colors is important, and this is where my geekiness is gonna show. My choice of red for the short ones and purple for the long ones comes from the light wavelengths in the rainbow. The rainbow colors are ROYGBIV (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet). Red is at the short end of the spectrum and violet (purple) is at the long end. That makes it easy for me to remember. Red = short, purple = long. This color scheme may not work at all for you, but pick a way to remember your colors. Your oldest child (tall teenager) has blue hair, and your youngest (shortest) is a redhead, for instance.
Whatever colors you choose, make sure they are very different. Don’t pick blue and purple. Those are too similar and you won’t be able to see the differences easily, especially from far away. Also, pastels are probably not a good choice because it would be hard to make out the different colors from across the field. Now that I think about it, fluorescent colors would be perfect. You could even use a black light at night to find them!
Painting also works for delineating different types of fence. Say you have poultry netting and goat netting. They can be hard to distinguish from across the field. There is no more guessing which is which! Just pick a color and go with it. You can also use two colors on each post to denote type and length if you want to start getting fancy. The sky is the limit!
You Can Find the Ends
Yep, I wonder if you even knew that you were having trouble finding the ends of each bundle or stretch of netting? Sometimes there are things that slow us down that we never even realized were issues. I paint just the top 8 inches or so of the end posts, and when the fence is wadded up in my arms, I can easily find the first post. I can then grab that post quickly from the bundle and start laying out the fence.
The other place that finding the netting ends comes in handy is in the field. If the posts are painted I can stand in the field and see where the ends are to all of the netting, even if it is a long stretch of connected fences. This helps when dismantling a stretch to use elsewhere because I can see immediately where to go to get to the end.
This also helps when designing the next paddock, because you always know where the openings are to make gateways. You will be surprised at how handy this becomes. Genius!
One cautionary note here, sharing from experience, do not, I repeat, do not get lazy and paint all of the posts on a net the same color. Painting all of the posts is super easy when you first pull the netting out of the box. They are already in a nice convenient clump. Painting them all doesn’t help at all when you want to find the ends of the fencing. I am so sorry that I did this on a couple of fences, that I fully intend to go back and repaint the inside posts white again. It really makes a difference!
The difference in my mindset for netting with painted posts versus not having painted posts is so subtle it’s hard to describe. Until you’ve tried it, you probably can’t imagine how much it can change your outlook. Don’t get me wrong, netting can still be a pain, especially in the woods (and those of you who have had to deal with twigs in a bundle of netting know what I mean), but this relieves a little of the anxiety, indecisiveness and frustration of using netting.
The deterrents to using netting are like death by a thousand cuts. The more cuts we can avoid, the more likely we are to continue regenerative grazing. Easing the way is what RegenaGraze is all about, even if it’s just eliminating a few of the cuts. Take a few minutes and paint your posts. Let me know if you like it!
Healthy soils to you!