As you may know, Polyface rents and manages several farms in the area near Polyface. Polyface animals are kept at the farms and either managed by contract farmers or Polyface staff/employees. The animals on rental farms are managed the same way as Polyface. The farms without on-site managers are visited every day to move animals and take care of other needs. Different farms have different animals. Some have cows, pigs, layers, broilers, turkeys or any combination thereof. Our cows actually rotate between farms according to a master grazing plan. When moving day comes, several haulers come to one farm with their trailers and haul animals to the other farm(s).
Polyface recently had the opportunity to rent a new farm in the city of Staunton. It has been an amazing opportunity to be part of setting up this farm. It is a great example of the portable farm concept and how in a matter of days a farm can be set up to manage using Polyface methods. In literally less than a week, the farm was set up and ready to receive cows. There is still work to be done (like building the corral), but for now the farm is operational!
To start, we all went over as a team to plan the layout of the water system and electric fencing. Once this was done, we dove in and started setting it all up. Setting up the water system involved setting up pipe from a water source to fill the cistern, setting up the pump and laying out pipe to take the water to all areas of the farm (to fill cow tanks).
Setting up the fencing involved repairing and replacing existing fencing as necessary and adding new single strand permanent electric fencing to separate the pastures into manageable sections. We brought over a tractor and post pounder to assist with this task. These bigger sections can then be separated into paddocks using stakes and single strand electric wire for managed grazing according to the grass needs of the cows.
Here are a few pictures to give you a better idea of the farm set up.