Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Learning New Tricks

In my line of work, I put up and take down a lot of electric fence.  We use Electro-Net from Premier 1 Supplies - these are 164-foot rolls of electrified netting with integrated fence posts.  With 16 of these nets, I can fence a 10-acre pasture in several hours.  I've been using this fencing long enough to become fairly efficient at putting it up and taking it down - or so I thought!

I'm currently working with Prescriptive Livestock Services, an Oregon-based company, to manage a large targeted grazing project in Lincoln, California.  At the moment, I'm overseeing the management of around 2,300 goats and 1,600 sheep - all within the Lincoln city limits.  The day-to-day work is being done by a group of incredibly efficient and hard working herders - all of whom are from Peru.

On Monday, I helped DiDi Camayo, who is taking care of most of the goats, set up Electro-Net. I thought I was fast, but DiDi is amazing!  Watching DiDi, I realized I could be more efficient in my work!

Setting up a large paddock is inherently inefficient - at some point, I have to walk back to my starting point and carry more rolls of fencing to the opposite side of the paddock.  DiDi has obviously thought about this - his approach starts when he picks up fencing.  Because of this, he can set out one roll of fencing while carrying a second roll.  His approach cuts the time required to set up a new paddock nearly in half.

Yesterday, I started using DiDi's technique - it works!  I can learn new tricks!  When I'm working with apprentices or friends, I usually compare my efficiency with their's.  I'm almost always faster!  Working with DiDi, however, I was humbled.  I guess we can always learn from others!

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