Rappa and rotational grazing

Designed by farmers for farmers

In 1965, Harry Ridley was the farm manager at Chilbolton Down Farm. His remit from the owner, Sir Richard Boughey, was a simple one; he was to find ways to increase the fertility of the land without heavy investment.

Harry’s answer for this was a focus on grassland management, which began with his implementation of a seven-year rotation.

‘The golden hooves’ of the sheep were integral to this rotation system. Being on free‐draining soil, the sheep could be kept outside all year round, maximising the benefits to the soil and minimising extra feed costs.

The 3000‐ewe flock was managed by breaking it down into smaller, manageable mob sizes that worked their way around the rotation.

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Harry turned to electric fencing

The biggest issue that Harry had to tackle with this new set-up revolved around fencing, specifically in finding cheap ways of containing the flocks without the use of permanent livestock fencing. He knew that this method of farming could be profitable and sustainable but the constant setting up and taking down of electric fences was very time-consuming.

Harry sought a solution to improve the efficiency of setting up electric fencing. In 1978, he found the answer.

He designed and manufactured a machine that would go on to revolutionise British sheep farming, a machine that both set out and wrapped up electric fencing. It would save many hours of labour in the process, and it wasn’t long before his neighbours and friends began to ask where they could buy one for themselves.

The Ridley Rappa was patented, and our business was born.

Leading the way with Livestock Management

Today, Rappa continues to work with the farming community to make it easy to focus on grassland management. Rappa is leading the way in helping farmers with livestock management. As the farming community face the challenges of regenerative farming, Rappa is delivering solutions through its range of mobile yards and electric fences, giving farmers a cost effective, portable, British designed and manufactured solution.

Harry’s grass management was centred around his implementation of a seven-year rotation using his patented Rappa winding machine. In today’s world of modern farming techniques, the benefits of using a Rappa grazing system to graze rotationally are clear when compared to using a continuous grazing system.

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Designed by farmers, for farmers

Harry understood the importance of listening to the feedback of the farming community. He used these contributions to develop and improve the Rappa Winder over the years. In recognition of his services to agriculture, Harry received an MBE in 1982.

In the 40 years that followed, the business flourished, helping to tackle a variety of everyday livestock fencing and sheep handling challenges.

The range grew around the Winders over the years, with the electric fencing components and, more recently, the Mobile Sheep Handling yards. In the 1990s, the company name was simplified to just Rappa.

The name was inspired by a place the family had stumbled across while travelling in New Zealand. In the South East of the country near Wellington, there is a region called Wairarapa, pronounced ‘wire‐rappa’, which seemed to perfectly describe the machine they had been developing back home. So when it came to naming their invention, The Ridley Rappa was the choice. For the past 40 years, the Ridley family have been running the business that we now call Rappa.

Unparalleled product quality

To this day, we still design and manufacture our product range in our factory in Hampshire, UK. This is so we can continue to provide our guarantee of unwavering quality and outstanding performance.

Everything we do, from the robust, high build quality of our products, to the unbeatable knowledge and experience of our team, is geared towards ensuring you receive value for money every time.

Over the years we have earned a reputation for our honesty, support, and excellent customer service. This is because we listen to our customers – they are experts at what they do and that’s why their feedback is so valuable to us.


Committed to great customer service

All our yards and fencing machines are sold directly to farmers. This means we are able to offer the best possible market value.

We are your first and last point of contact. Our experts and office teams are at the end of the phone or online to offer advice and technical support.

Our mobile yards are sold directly from our office as well as through three authorised distributors who cover Wales and Scotland.

All our distributors are trusted partners who we have worked with for many years and, most importantly, they’re all farmers who understand the pressures and challenges that come with sheep handling.

Photo Credit Jessica Symes

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