March 20, 2018

“Easy On, Easy Off” T-Post Fence Insulators

 A new horseshoe-shaped insulator went on the market last June and has been an overwhelming success. “We exhibited at a major 12-day livestock show last fall in Louisville, Ky., and brought 55,000 insulators.

We sold out 3 days before the show ended and had farmers buying 1,000 insulators at a time because they liked the product so much,” says Nick Hiner, inventor of the LockJawz T-360 insulator. The patented insulator consists of a horseshoe-shaped hard plastic “jaw” that snaps into place on T-posts and can be used on poly rope, dual strand barbed wire, and 12 to 14-ga. high tensile wire. No tools are required to install or remove it. “Because it can be mounted in 6 different positions around the post it doesn’t matter which direction the post faces, whereas conventional insulators can only be mounted on one side of the post. You can even alternate mounting the wire on front and back of the posts in order to strengthen the fence,” says Hiner.

The insulators are made from high quality HDP plastic with a heavy ultraviolet inhibitor in it, so they should last at least 5 to 10 years. And they’re easy to take off and reposition so you can use them over and over again. “LockJawz insulators were designed to give instead of break like other more rigid insulators do,” says Hiner. “The sun and large animals are always going to win; our goal is to improve the longevity and odds for your fence to stay intact when these events occur.

Due to the design and strength of the insulator, you can make 180 degree turns with LockJawz at the end of a pasture without needing a special insulator. You can even use it on outside fence corners.” Hiner is an engineer who lives next to a farmer who became his friend and business partner. “Wade Simon was in the process of ‘restarting’ a farm that belonged to his wife’s family, and he told me what he didn’t like about fence insulators on the market. So we put our heads together and tried to solve as many of the problems as we could.” You can check out of a video of LockJawz T-360 electric fence insulators at www. A bag of 25 LockJawz sells for $9.99 plus S&H. Volume discounts are available. 

March 20, 2018

Electric Fence terms you should know and remember for 2018


Terms you should know when planning or installing electric fence:

Alternating current
Current that flows back and forth, changing directions rapidly. AC current is typically used in households in the United States and Canada. It reverses directions 120 times per second or 60 full cycles.

A measurement of electrical current; what you feel when you receive a shock. The higher the amperage, the more intense shock the animal will feel.

Used to train wild animals to avoid an electric fence. Turn off fence controller. Smear an aluminum pie tin with the bait (peanut butter, honey, rancid bacon, molasses, etc.). Connect pie tin to an electric fence wire using metal wire. Locate several baited pie tins around the perimeter of the fence. After baiting is completed, turn fence controller on and monitor bait stations regularly.

Capacitive discharge
A term used to describe electric fence controllers that pulse electricity at regular intervals through a fence, typically at one-second internals.

An output capacitor is used to store direct current (DC) electricity between pulses through a fence. Alternating current (AC) can't be stored using a capacitor.

Continuous current
Refers to a continuous output of alternating current (AC) rather than a pulsed or cycled output. Continuous current fencers produce very low voltages and extremely low amperages in order to keep them safe. As a result, these fencers do not work well on long, weedy or wet fences. Continuous current fencers are not UL listed.

Corner posts
Sturdy wooden posts driven deep into the ground to provide extra support for the tension put on a fence line as it changes direction. Corner posts are not only used at corners, but also for gates and end posts.

Direct current
Current that flows steadily in one direction, typically produced by batteries through a chemical reaction.

Direct-discharge fencer
A type of fence controller that does not require a grounding system to deliver an electrical shock. Direct-discharge fencers are most effective on short, weed-free fences.

Distance ratings
A way of comparing the relative power of fence controllers. Ratings are based on a single strand of 17-gauge steel wire strung 36 inches above the ground under ideal, weed-free laboratory conditions.

Fence load
Any number of conditions that cause current to be drawn from a fence wire. Weeds touching the fence, broken insulators, rusty fence wire, and even wire splices all increase fence load and reduce the fence's voltage and amperage. Fence load is measured in ohms.

Ground wire return system
used where dry or sandy soil conditions do not allow a traditional ground system to work. Consists of running a ground wire parallel to a hot fence wire, delivering at the point where the animal touches the two lines.

Ground System
Necessary to create a complete electrical circuit: when the animal touches the electrified wire, the electricity travels through the animal, into the soil, back to the ground rods that are connected to the fence controller, resulting in the animal receiving a brief shock. A ground system consists of ground rods (3), hookup wire, ground rod clamps and line clamps.

High tensile
An affordable, long lasting electrified fence system that is an excellent choice for perimeter fences, providing a barrier to contain or exclude animals. These sturdy, permanent fences require braced corner and end posts in wood along with special insulators, hardware, and tools that maintain constant high tension on metal wire.

A nonconductive material (plastic or ceramic), typically used to offset fence wire from a fence post. Insulators prevent the current from traveling through the post and into the ground, short-circuiting the system.

A measurement of electrical energy used to rate low impedance fence controllers. The effective power the controller delivers to the fence, independent of other factors that can drain voltage. The higher the joules, the more intense shock the animal will feel. (1 joule = 1 watt of power for 1 second)

Line posts
A post used to support electric or non-electric fence wire. Line posts support the fence line, and have far less tension put on it than corner posts. As a result, they can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, plastic and fiberglass.

Low-impedance fencer
Low impedance fence controllers increase the joules (energy or shock) on the fence line if weeds or other vegetation touch the line. Available in AC, DC and solar powered models.

Mob grazing
The tendency among certain species of animals to graze vegetation down to the dirt. May cause animals to reach vegetation outside the fence.

Ohms are used to measure resistance to the flow of an electric current. A low ohms reading represents a heavy fence load, and a high ohms reading represents a light fence load.

On-time / Off-time
On-time refers to the duration of the electrical pulse produced by a capacitive discharge fencer. Off-time refers to the length of time between the pulses. Zareba fencers have electrical pulses that are only microseconds long, followed by one full second of off-time between each pulse. This long off-time enables an animal (or person) to easily break away from the fence.

Pulse width
Pulse width refers to the duration of the electrical pulse produced by a capacitive discharge fencer. (See On-time / Off-time)

Resistance is any force that resists the flow of electricity, consuming power from a circuit by changing electric energy into heat. Electricians measure resistance in ohms.

Rotational grazing
A system for livestock grazing, using internal temporary enclosures (within a boundry fence) to control the specific areas where the animals graze. This allows the vegetation in the previous enclosures to grow back. Typically is 1-strand of wire at 40" or at animal's nose level.

Solid state
Solid-state fence controllers deliver a medium amperage shock in pulses of medium duration. They are best used to control shorthaired livestock, small animals, and pets where light weed conditions exist.

A component that joins together separate strands of fence wire, tape or rope without breaking the fence's electrical circuit.

Temporary fencing
A one to three-strand electric fence system that is used for rotational grazing or other short-term uses. It typically uses step-in poly posts or rod posts, and a DC or solar operated fence controller for portability and flexibility.

A component used to tighten fence wires, typically polytape, to increase tension on a section of the fence line.

A device that increases or decreases the voltage of alternating current.

A measurement of electrical pressure. It functions similarly to water pressure in that it "pushes" amperage down the fence wire.

A unit of measurement for electric power equal to voltage times amperage.

March 18, 2018

Mistakes To Avoid With Electric Fencing | Valley Farm Supply

High-tensile, smooth wire, electric fencing is the fastest and most affordable fence that I know about, and its technology has drastically improved over the past 10 years. But many folks are hesitant to use it because they remember old failures -- wires breaking, chargers starting fires, wet vegetation shorting out the fence and other troubles.

With a little commitment and a modest investment in time to learn how to use this new technology, you can save thousands of dollars and hours of maintenance time by making electric fencing work for you. So you won't have to learn the hard way, here are 17 common mistakes that you should avoid:

red ballPoor earth grounding. Lots of folks (including me) still think you can skimp when it comes to adequate earth grounding. What we must all learn to do, is install several ground rods -- at least three that are 6 to 8 feet long, galvanized, and attached with good ground clamps. The electricity must complete a full circle back to the charger through the ground. Poor grounding gives weak shocks.

red ballUsing different types of metals. Don't do it. When you hook up steel wire to copper something call electrolysis happens and the metal becomes corroded, making a poor contact and weakening shocking power.

red ballInadequate animal training. Each and every animal must learn that the fence hurts. So please build a handy training fence, preferably on heavy wet soil. Flag the fence for visibility, and force the animal to try and cross the fence.

red ballFenceposts too close together. Well-intended government agencies recommend lots of fenceposts in their fencing specifications. Fifty-foot spacing on flat land is just too close. You want the fence to act like a rubber band. When something runs into the wire, you don't want to break all the insulators or knock posts out of the ground. If the posts are spread apart far enough -- say 80 to 100 feet -- the wire will just bend to the ground and pop back up.

red ballToo many wire tie-offs. Again, fencing specifications may call for braces every quarter mile wire to tie the wire off. But I have found that even 5,000 feet is OK, and actually adds more elasticity in the fence wire. This reduces the chance of wires breaking.

red ballWires tied tight to each fencepost. To maintain elasticity (the rubber band effect), wires must float past each line fencepost.

red ballBuilding new fences near old existing fences. Old fence wires seem to be always moving somewhere and coming in contact with the new electrified wires. This almost always causes a complete short in the fence, and away the animals go.

red ballBottom wire in contact with heavy, wet vegetation. Wet grass will suck lots of juice out of any fence charger. Hook up the lower wires separate from the other wires, and install a switch for the lower wires that you can turn them off when the grass is tall.

red ballPoor-quality insulators. Be careful here. Sunlight deteriorates plastic. So buy good-quality, long-lasting insulators. Usually black ones are treated to resist degradation by ultraviolet light. I have found that poor quality insulators turn white or clear after a few years in direct sunlight.

red ballStaples driven in all the way. When using plastic tubing as an insulator, don't staple it too tight. I once spent several hours trying to find a short in a gate. Finally, I discovered a staple had damaged the tubing next to a ground wire, causing a hidden short.

red ballSolar panels not directly facing the sun. This seems almost too obvious to be a problem. But a solar panel won't function at its potential if not properly installed. Please read the instructions. Don't just guess if you have done it right.

red ballKinks in high-tensile wire. A small kink in stiff wire will always break. Also avoid hitting this kind of wire with a hammer, as this will easily damage the wire causing a break. Always cut out a damaged section of high tensile wire and splice it. Incidentally, I have found that a hand-tied square knot makes the strongest splice.

red ballInstalling in-line strainers close together. Wires will flip together once in awhile. If in-line strainers are installed one above the other, they will sometimes hook up. Separate in-line strainers by a fencepost and they will never catch on each other.

red ballWires too close to each other. Keep them at least 5 inch apart.

red ballNo voltmeter. Without a voltage meter to check how hot a fence is, you're just guessing.

red ballWire too small. The larger the wire, the more electricity it will carry. Don't skimp.

red ballInadequate charger. A wimpy fence charger gives you a wimpy fence. Don't skimp here because animals will think a smooth wire fence is a joke without a strong bite, and they'll walk right through it.

Your fence charger should be low-impedance, come from a dependable supplier, and have a warranty and replaceable components. Please buy one that puts out lots of power. During a rainy year, you may have lots of plant growth touching the wires. That's when you will need extra power to shock through the heavy, wet vegetation. It's also handy to find folks with an extra charger they can loan to you while yours is being repaired. Expect some breakdowns, especially from lightning. Certain fence suppliers offer lightning protection with their warranties.

Don't be afraid to try electric smooth wire fencing. Find a good fence suppler and learn some of the tricks of the trade. I know folks who hate electric fencing. But their pocketbook is not big enough to build a conventional fence, which may cost up to $1 per foot.

The next time your bulls get in a fight with the neighbors bulls and tear down all the fence, remember that most animals will learn not to touch a wire with 5,000 volts running thorough it.

March 14, 2018




Traditionally, usage of land has been demarcated by fences - often in combination with geographical features such as rivers and impassable rocky outcrops, or other prominent land marks such as drystone walls and tree lines. Fences are also associated with land use and livestock management - either precluding access by livestock to cultivated crops or improving utilization of veld and pastures.

Until relatively recently all farm fences were of barbed wire, supported by iron standards and droppers, between substantial straining posts. Fences of this kind are both a physical and psychological barrier to livestock and intruders. A major drawback of "conventional" fencing of this type is the expense involved: the cost in April 2000 for a 'standard' 5 strand barbed wire fence was R4 033 per kilometre.

Recent advances in (electronic) technology have ensured that electric fences now offer a viable option to barbed wire fences in most situations - with the added advantages of adaptability and significantly improved cost effectiveness.

Principle of electric fencing

Electric fencing is based on a simple principle: Energisers have two terminals, demarcated "Fence" and "Earth/Ground." A thin, insulated wire is charged with electric energy from the "Fence" terminal. A second, thin wire is connected to an earth. Whoever/whatever closes the circuit between the two terminals receives a substantial, safe (low amperage/high voltage) electric shock.

Equipment and construction

The "heart" of the electric fence is the energiser. Most modern energisers generate approximately 5 000 volts. The ability to sustain this charge depends on the capacity (measured in joules) of the energiser. Small energisers (1.0 joule) are adequate for powering small networks (15 km) of fencing and strip grazing applications. Large energisers (20 joules) will power networks of up to 175 km under normal conditions. The most effective energisers require either a 12 or 24 volt wet-cell (tractor type) battery, or A/C mains as power source. Specialised power sources such as solar or dry-cell (torch) battery models are less common.

Careful selection of an appropriate energiser is essential. Consideration should be given to the purpose of the network (security and/or grazing management), the size of the network, the type of threat/animal to be controlled, the ease of maintenance of the energiser, and the proven service record and reliability of the supplier.

Insulator quality is of paramount importance in electric fencing. The purpose of insulators is to ensure that the full amount of energy discharged into the wire is channelled through the intruder/animal when the circuit is closed. Insulators manufactured from fibreglass-type compounds, treated with fire-retardants and ultraviolet radiation stabilizers during the manufacturing process are the most reliable and cost effective (some are still performing perfectly after 20 years of continuous use). High density polyethylene insulators tend to fail when subjected to fire, and become brittle after a number of years' exposure to sunlight. Porcelain insulators are highly susceptible to physical vandalism. Used and discarded plastic water piping and/or rubber inner tubes are not at all suited as insulators.


The "earth" section of the circuit is as important as the "live" or "insulated" section.  Furthermore, the larger the output capacity of the energiser, the larger the surface area of the earth-pegs required. Ideally, earth-pegs should be sited in areas which remain permanently moist (for example in close proximity to a gutter down-pipe, down-slope from a drain, near a small stream or natural spring). A single earth-peg made of 20 mm galvanised water-pipe driven vertically into moist soil to a depth of one metre is adequate for a small energiser (1.0 joule output capacity). At least 20 such earth pegs used in a similar manner are necessary for a large (20 joule output) energiser. Clearly, all earth pegs must be interconnected with each other and the earth terminal of the energiser. Stainless steel or copper piping ensures even better earthing. With regard to the actual fencing used, fully galvanised baling wire (2.5 mm diameter) is the most practical for temporary (6 months or less) and semi-permanent (less than 2 years) use. High-strain, steel wire (2.0 x 2.6 mm) is recommended for permanent use (2 to 10 years). Purpose-made nylon wire, braided with 6 strands of stainless steel wire, is recommended for strip-grazing purposes, or those occasions where a network will be used for 3 - 4 weeks at a time and then removed. It should be noted that different soil types have different (electric) conductivities. This has a direct bearing on the fencing configuration used in any situation.

On heavy, damp, clays (and areas under irrigation) all wires in the fence should be "live". In dry areas, on sandy soils, or in areas where the soil surface is covered by dry, non-conductive material, wires should be alternatively "live" and "earth".

When constructing the fence the following basic principles should be adhered to:

  1. Fence strands should at all times be parallel to the soil surface and to each other.
  1. The distance between strands should be such that the animal/intruder chooses to retire from, rather than proceed through, the fence once shocked.
  1. Fence voltage should be maintained above 3 000 volts for wooled sheep, 2 000 volts for cattle and goats and 1 500 volts for thin skinned animals such as horses and pigs. 

The fence standards on relatively flat topography can be as far apart as 50 metres with droppers in-between at 15 metre intervals.  For control of domestic livestock (cattle, calves, sheep, goats (and even dogs!)) it is seldom necessary to have a fence taller than 900 mm above the ground. Security and game fences should be 2 000 mm tall.  Ideal strand spacings within the fence are shown in the Table.

Problems and fault-finding

Problems with electric fencing do occur. However, if good fencing principles and techniques are followed when the fence is constructed, these problems can be minimized. The most common faults include:

  1. Voltage "leakages" arising from:
  1. Dead shorts - as a result of a direct connection to ground/earth 

  2. Vegetation - high volume of actively growing, lush vegetation contacting live wires

  3. Cracked or weathered insulators giving rise to cumulative leakage

  1. Poor earth system:

  1. Inadequate surface area of earth peg(s) 

  2. Drying of soil around the earth peg(s)

  3. Loose or corroded connections to the earth section of the network.

  1. Loose or corroded connections in the "fence" section of the network. The use of "reef" knots or "figure eight" knots (in preference to double loops) and use of galvanised line clamps reduce the incidence of these possibilities.

  1. Faulty energisers - a problem which may occur after electric storms and lightening strikes on the fence.

A number of desirable and useful accessories are available for use in electric fencing. However, four items are deemed to be essential. These are a digital volt meter (for accurate measurement of fence performance), cut out switches, a lightening diverter and an alarm linked to a warning mechanism (siren, buzzer or flashing light). The alarm should be placed on the end of the fence furthest away from the energiser and is used to warn the operator when the output of the fence between the energiser and end of the fence drops below a predetermined level. In the event of a voltage drop (reasons may include a cut fence; fence 'shorted out' by an animal/tree branch/intruder; vegetative material causing leakage) voltage readings can be taken and the cause identified. Cut out switches significantly reduce the amount of "down-time" lost in tracing and rectifying faults. These switches are placed at strategic points in the network and are used to isolate individual sections when fault-finding.


Electric fencing presents a viable option to conventional barbed wire or prefabricated fencing. Provided it is properly constructed and well maintained, it is more adaptable, convenient and cost effective than conventional fencing.


Strand spacings for electric fences

Cattle and calves 3 strands 290; 600 and 900 mm above ground
Sheep and lambs
(even topography)
4 strands 150; 335; 600 and 900 mm above ground
Sheep, lambs
(uneven topography)
4 strands 150; 290; 900 mm above ground
Pigs 3 strands 150; 335; 600 mm above ground
* Security and Game 14 strands with 1 off-set 150 mm above ground and 150 mm between successive strands
Off-set support on "top" and "3rd from top" strand

* Note that for use in security applications all strands of similar charge (polarity) are connected in "series" and not: parallel" as is the case with grazing control fences

March 12, 2018

Shade Haven portable cattle and livestock shade structures

 Developing an effective rotational grazing strategy doesn’t require a computer, CAD drawings or even graph paper and a calculator. As Vince Hundt quickly discovered, all it takes is a cattle producer with a keen eye and the proper equipment.

"If you want to be successful in grass-fed or grass-finished beef in today's business climate, you have to be very focused on the quality and care of your pastures," says Hundt, owner/operator of St. Brigid's Meadows, a certified organic farm specializing in 100% grass-fed beef in southwestern Wisconsin.

Hundt runs approximately 175 head of primarily Angus cattle on two large pastures – split into 40 acres and 56 acres of 75 head and 100 head respectively.  He explains he started utilizing rotational grazing about ten years ago.

Cattle Grazing Quality Forage

"I was slow to become aware of what is one of the most significant paradigm shifts in my lifetime," Hundt admits. "Rotational grazing is a seminal movement and is the brightest light in agriculture right now."

"With rotational grazing, the farmer walks out to his animals, and with his own feet and his own hands, sets the fence – no chemicals, no tractors, no combines," Hundt explains. "It is better for the animals, for the land, for the environment, and for sure – definitely the consumers. It's a game changer."

Hundt says rotational grazing works because of the right tools. He is committed to utilizing Gallagher products for all of his temporary fencing needs.

"Gallagher offers everything for a producer to get the job done right the first time and also be able to use the equipment for years to come," says Dane Headley, Territory Manager for Gallagher.

Black Angus Grazing Green Pasture

To have a successful rotational grazing strategy in warm conditions, Hundt says you must utilize three tools: portable fencing that is easy to use, portable watering that is easy to use, and a portable shade. "If not, the animals are stranded in the sun. And that's torture – there's no place to hide from the sun," he says.

"It is important to keep the cattle cool," he explains. "About 45 degrees is the perfect temperature for most cattle. When it's very warm, there is nothing more certain to reduce feed intake, weight gain and milk production than high heat."

Hundt says it's the radiant temperature of the sun that is of concern.

"The energy from the sun is absorbed by the cattle, their core temperature gets raised and they stop eating. All they need is some place to get out of the sun," he says.

To combat the summer heat, Hundt utilizes the product Shade Haven– large portable shade structures designed to keep cattle cool in pastures.

Cattle Using ShadeHaven Equipment in Pasture

"Shade Haven works great for keeping my animals comfortable when temperatures rise while at the same time giving me an effective grazing tool to improve my pastures through the precise placement of nutrients," says Hundt.  "Wherever I put the Shade Haven, that is where the animals will be and that is where the nutrients are deposited."

Hundt reminds fellow producers that developing an effective rotational grazing strategy in varied climate environments doesn't need to stress the cattleorthe farmer.

"Begin with an individualized plan for your operation. The right tools and the cattle will take care of the rest," he says. "All it takes is to move the fence, move the water and move the shade, to change the world."

March 12, 2018

Weaning Cattle and Calves on Electric Fence | Livestock Advice


Calving season brings in newborns which can make for a loud, raucous fall when it’s time to wean.  It’s surprisingly quiet, though, with a practice called fence line weaning.  Call it a gentler, kinder way to separate a calf from its mother, it allows the pair to remain close and greatly reduces stress on both. 


Mark Goes, an expert on the process, spends part of his time as an instructor at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska and the rest of his time as a small cattle rancher.  He got into the process, which he calls ‘pasture weaning’ while working with his students in 1998 in a Ranching for Profit class.


We wean as early as possible,” said Goes.  “"A calf's rumen is inoculated to digest solid feeds by 4 months of age.  This also coincides with the time that dam's milk production begins to decline.  We like to get the younger calves weaned and on a solid feed diet as soon as possible, thereby meeting the performance demands of the calf more effectively and freeing up more pasture to run more cows."


Goes deals with just 30 animals at home and a maximum of 60 at the school.  “The University of Nebraska is doing fence line weaning with herd sizes of 250 or more,” he said.


Goes experience at home as well as the college shows the wean stress is over in 2 to 3 days.  “Calves get over it faster than cows, all they need to learn is where to eat” he said.  “We use a nanny to show them the ropes – where the feed and water is.”  


“A cow’s milk production continues and she wants some relief so what we’re really doing is weaning the mother.”


A power fence is critical to the process.  Goes uses a simple and inexpensive two wire fence and an energizer from Gallagher to control his animals.  Explaining its effectiveness, Gallagher president Erwin Quinn said “An electric fence is a psychological barrier that doesn’t require great strength to be effective. It must be well designed and constructed to absorb some pressure from animals, snow and wind and the energizer must have enough power for the length of the fence and for the animals being controlled.”


A pulsed electric current is sent along the fence wire, about one pulse per second, from a grounded energizer.  When an animal brushes against the fence, a circuit between the fence and the ground is completed and the animal feels a short, sharp but safe shock.


Most people agree that posts and woven wire won’t do.  “Weaning calves are like sheep,” said one proponent.  “They’ll bunch up next to the fence and, sooner or later, they’ll push through.  The power fence prevents them from doing that.”


To prevent fence line crowding, Goes said it’s important to eliminate corners and place food and water sources away from the fence. 


Backing up Goes’ real life experience are many scientific studies.  California researchers, for instance, tested the effectiveness of fence line weaning a few years ago.  They weaned a group of calves with only a power fence between them and their mothers and compared them to calves weaned totally separated from their mothers.


They found that fence line calves and cows spent about half their time within a few feet of the fence during the first two days.  Fence line calves bawled and walked less, and ate and rested more than the separated calves.


All the calves were placed together 7 days after weaning.  Even so, at two weeks, the fence line calves had gained 23 pounds more than separated calves.  At 10 weeks, fence line calves gained an average of 110 pounds compared to 84 pounds for separated calves, indicating the stress from weaning was an ongoing problem. 


Goes agrees with the research.  He noted that at harvest the fence line calves still showed more weight gain and better quality meat than traditionally weaned animals.

February 27, 2018

Common Electric Fence questions and answers | Gallagher Fence

FAQ on Electric Fences, Grounding, Energizers & More

 we receive many electric fences questions, such as “how do they work" and “what parts do I need for my fence.” We’ve listed a few of the most frequently asked questions to help you answer your questions.

Check our our list of frequently asked questions below. If you have more questions about the usage of electric fence equipment and/or components, please feel free to contact us.

  1. How does an electric fence work?
  2. How does a ground work?
  3. How important is the grounding system?
  4. How many grounding rods do I need to make my fence work? How do I install them?
  5. How do I select the correct sized energizer?
  6. What are volts, amps and joules?
  7. What does low impedance mean?

1. How does an electric fence work?
An electric fence is simply a large open circuit waiting to be closed. The electric fence energizer or charger sends a high voltage pulse of electric energy through the wire, tape or rope at short intervals, usually between one and two seconds. The circuit is closed when an animal, which is standing on the ground, touches the fence. The electric energy in the fence wire flows from the fence, through the animal's body and to the ground causing the animal to be shocked. The animal will only respect the shock if both the voltage and energy are at proper levels. Environmental, fence and ground conditions influence the level of shock received. It takes a minimum of 700 volts to effectively control short haired breeds of cattle, pigs and horses while it takes about 2,000 volts for long haired cattle, sheep and goats. Depending on the type and breed of animal, it may take multiple shocks from an electric cattle fence before they are fully trained to have respect for the electric fence.

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2. How does a ground work?
Upon leaving the electric fence energizer, the electric current travels along the wires and connections of the solar electric fence. It is seeking all possible routes back to Earth. These routes include animals, people grass etc. When an animal comes in contact with the wire on a livestock electric fence, the energy passes through its body and returns to the ground causing an electric shock.

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3. How important is the grounding system?
The grounding system is a vital part of the system enabling the correct return of electrical pulses (from the electric fence energizer) through the animal from the contact point on the fence to the ground. Without a sufficient ground, the electric fence will be limited in effectiveness of providing a "shock".

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4. How many grounding rods do I need to make my fence work? How do I install them?
Grounding rods should be at least 6 feet long. Even though one grounding rod may work, it is recommended for best results to use 3 rods spaced 10-12 feet apart. The first rod should be within 25-50 feet from the energizer and driven down deep into the earth. The larger your fence, the more grounding rods you should have since more grounding rods increase the shock potential. Connect the rods together and then connect them to the energizer ground terminal using highly conductive wire (the wire should be a minimum of 12.5 ga in diameter). Water the ground after installation and during dry spells if necessary.

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5. How do I select the correct sized energizer?
The energizer must deliver sufficient shock in proportion to the requirements placed on it. The power output should be selected based on the following calculations. Location of electric fence energizer (access to A/C power), type of animals, length of the above-ground or underground electric fence, number for strands of wire, conductivity of wire, vegetation present on the fence and soil conditions for grounding.

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6. What are volts, amps and joules?
Volts or voltage is the driving force behind the flow of electricity in a wire. It is often related to the pressure water has in a pipe. The more pressure pushing water through a pipe is analogous to the voltage pushing energy through a conductor.

Amps or amperage is the measurement of electrical current through a wire. It is the current or amps that determine the strength of the shock felt from a permanent or temporary electric fence. The higher the amps of current, the higher the strength of the shock. Continuing the water pipe analogy, amps is roughly like the flowrate of water coming out of the end of the pipe.

A joule (pronounced jewel) is a unit of work or energy. It is the energy expended in one second by a current of one amp at a potential of one volt. One joule is equal to one watt of power in one second.

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7. What does low impedance mean?
Energizers that are low impedance energizers have the ability to regulate their output and maintain a constant voltage supply to the fence even as the grounding and fence conditions deteriorate as well as increased vegetation contact. This means as more vegetation draws amperage from the electric fence (short circuiting or grounding the fence), a low impedance energizer will produce more energy or joules to overcome this loss due to plants while maintaining adequate levels for animal control. 

February 23, 2018

What does low impedance electric fencing mean?

Electric Fence Chargers or Energizers that are low impedance energizers have the ability to regulate their output and maintain a constant voltage supply to the fence even as the grounding and fence conditions deteriorate as well as increased vegetation contact. This means as more vegetation draws amperage from the electric fence (short circuiting or grounding the fence), a low impedance energizer will produce more energy or joules to overcome this loss due to plants while maintaining adequate levels for animal control.

February 22, 2018

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February 22, 2018

Gallagher Fencing Tip: Preventing Electric Fence Failure


How do I prevent electric fence failure?

80% of all electric fence problems can be traced to inadequate grounding. A proper ground will test 200 volts or less.  Check your system and if it's above 200 volts, add more ground rods until the reading is 200 or less.

Can I electrify my barbed wire fence?

No! It is extremely dangerous to electrify barbed wire. Animals and humans can become entangled in barbed wire, preventing them from getting away from the shock. While the shock emitted by most quality energizers is safe to man and beast, the stress of entrapment can become exhausting and dangerous.

How do I get the most use from polytape?

Don't 'unroll" it when you take it off of the spool, just let it come off of the end of the roll. This will leave a spiral which will eliminate any wind chatter and create a dramatic visual effect that will be noticed by livestock or wildlife.

How do I prevent lightening damage to my electric fence energizers?

To minimize lightening damage to your energizer as well as to any other piece of electrical equipment on your farm or appliance in your house, contact your utility company and have them check your primary and secondary utility ground to make sure that each is 10 ohms or less.  85% of all lightening damage to energizers comes from or through the electrical outlet.