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Four Tips for Maintaining Electric Fences

January 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article written by Career advantage portal

Livestock fencing is an art as much as it is an essential skill. Last year, the U.S. cattle inventory hovered around 95 million, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a figure that’s larger than the population of California, New York and Texas combined. That’s a lot of cattle to care for. And whether you’re transitioning from traditional wood and wire fences or looking for new ways to improve your fencing techniques, an electric fence requires a few different strategies that you might not be accustomed to.

The 1 to 1 Ratio

An electrified fence needs power. Too much can prove harmful to soil and vegetation while too little can hardly scare a 1000-pound cow. The guideline is always the same, no matter how many strands of wire you use—1 joule for every 1 mile of fence. If you’re attempting to power 10 miles of fence, you’re looking for at least 10 joules.

Laying The Ground Rules

Let’s say you bought a Gallagher fence—six miles of it. From the 1 to 1 ratio, you know you need at least 6 joules. According to Beef Magazine, you also need 3 feet of ground rods for every output of joule. So those 6 miles of fencing will require at least 18 feet of ground rods spaced at least 10 feet apart. Positioning the rods too close can cause the electrons flowing from energizer to the rod to interact negatively with the soil.

Even the type of material proves essential as well. If you use galvanized rods, your system, wires, rods and connections, all must be galvanized too. Mixing copper with galvanized materials will usher in unwelcomed results.

Fence Flexibility

Next, the wildlife surrounding your land should determine your fencing setup. If elk and moose roam your grounds, you want fencing that allows these animals to move about freely. A strong, stout fence with high tensile and T-posts will prove more troubling than useful. Why? Wildlife like elk and moose can trample over insulators and bend fencing posts. Instead, building a lower-profile fence with fewer wires can allow wildlife to move about freely while still keeping livestock safe.

Check Your Grounding System Seasonally

That nice fence you purchased and grounded during summer needs to be checked again in winter. During the driest and wettest seasons, you’ll want to check the grounding system and voltage to ensure no unnecessary changes have occurred. Neglecting either can lead to outages and damages to your fences.

So while caring for your livestock proves essential to your livelihood, so too is ensuring your fencing setup remains adequate.