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Options vary on electric fences

Often we see livestock producers grazing new areas during the winter months.

We will probably see this a lot more as a result of the hay shortage caused by this summer's drought.

Many of these areas may not have adequate fencing. Farmers will want to secure these areas but do so as cheaply as possible. Temporary electric fences can be quickly put up and taken down to allow livestock grazing on areas not normally used.

There are a few materials which are necessary to construct a temporary electric fence. Some companies supply fencing on portable reels which can be re-rolled and moved with minimal trouble. These materials are well suited to temporary fences which require frequent moving.

Fence chargers are manufactured in a variety of ways. The output voltage is a determining factor of how well the charger will control livestock. In remote areas with no power source, a 9-12 volt portable charger could be utilized for charging the fence. A good charger should supply a minimum of 1500 volts with a 500 ohm load. Many farm supply dealers carry fence chargers as well as other fencing supplies.

One consideration is that the fence charger be from a reputable manufacturer. If you have not purchased a fence charger recently, you may want to check with other producers to get names of some of the reputable brands.

With dry soil, it's a must that the fence consists of at least two wires. Alternate wires should be connected to positive and negative terminals of the charger. This eliminates problems when the ground is dry and the dry soil will not provide an adequate return path for the electrical charge. I had a farmer tell me this summer that deer went through an 8 strand electric fence. All 8 strands were hot so the soil must have been to dry to serve as an electrical ground. The alternating method mentioned above should take care of this problem.

Spacing of the wires depends on the size and type of animal being confined.

What is used for support probably depends a lot on what you have laying around the farm. Stop by the Extension Office if you would like more information.

Web posted on Thursday, September 14, 2006

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