Electric fencing is rapidly replacing barbed wire and other forms of traditional fences found in and around Ozarks farms. It has many benefits over the traditional fence such as it is more cost efficient and versatile. Typically, traditional fencing is still the best when it comes to the perimeter of the farm but for areas set aside for grazing purposes, electrical is the best option for area farmers.
Connie Krider, from PowerFlex Fence in Hartville, Mo., describes the best type of permanent fencing for intensive grazing purposes as “121⁄2 gauge, hi-tensile wire, which is twice as strong as barbed wire, lasts longer and provides versatility for sub-dividing pastures.” Electric fences “are effective in controlling the grazing area and eating patterns of the animals which is the most efficient way to manage both your land and livestock,” Krider said. She also notes that not all the animals can be controlled with the same type of fence. For example, an effectual perimeter fence for cattle can have the bottom wire a foot or more from the ground, where with sheep and goats the bottom wire should be six to seven inches off the ground.
For perimeter fencing using hi-tensile electric wire, cattle can be securely contained with four strands of wire. Sheep normally require five to six strands and goats require seven strands for maximum security. The most effective fencing for sheep and goats is hi-tensile, electrified, woven-wire. It will ensure that the livestock stay in while keeping predators out.
To keep electric fences hot, Krider recommends “using an energizer sized to meet the needs of your fencing. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one joule rating on your energizer for every three miles of clean wire,” she said.
Mike McClintock, with the University of Arkansas Extension Service, agreed, stating to farmers, “don't skimp on your charger.” Another important way to keep the fences hot is a “well-planned construction system” said McClintock. “Before building your fence, ground the charger with three to four quality copper rods,” he said, to ensure that you are getting the best performance from the product. McClintock advised farmers, “go slow at first. Don't get too carried away with an overwhelming system,” noting that some farmers can become frustrated with electric fencing by starting out with complicated systems.
There are many different ways to choose the best product for the farm. Many energizers carry a two to five year warranty, including lightning damage. McClintock suggests getting one that can get serviced locally, for him it's any upper-end charger that gets the job done. Look for a dealer that will give you a “loaner” while your charger is being serviced.


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