Electric Fencing Articles and Information.
Electric fencing articles that will advance the knowledge and ability to use Electric fencing.
Post and Rail fences are probably the most solid of fences to keep horses in a paddock. Unfortunately horses tend to be attracted to them and push them over - what is the solution?
- 1/.Do not store rolled-up fence on the ground near stored feed in a barn with rats and mice present.
Result: Rodents chew into the rolls, make themselves at home and severely damage the net. Instead, store netting far away from rodents and grain, or hang the roll off the ground on nails driven into a wall.
- 2/.Do not use a “weed chopper” (a high impedance) energizer with electric netting.
Result: The long-duration pulse of “weed chopper” energizers melts plastic parts of netting where it touches vegetation. Also, their pulse is very weak, so even if there are no weeds, animals will challenge the fence. (These are now seldom manufactured)
- 3/.Do not try to roll up the fence like a carpet instead—fold it up into pleats with the posts at one end.
Result: A tedious chore that takes forever. People who try to “roll instead of fold” assume we’re liars about Electric Netting being an “instant fence.” Of course, the cure is to read the instructions—but nearly everyone assumes they don’t need to do that!
- 4/.Do not use weak energizers (less than .25 joule energisers). Many units are too weak to be effective with netting. This is particularly true of inadequately powered battery units and energizers with small solar panels.
Result: Animals feel very little shock and therefore try to push through or under the netting. Animals will escape, netting is damaged and the user is upset and very frustrated.
- 5/. Do not allow excess grass to grow up into the netting.
Result: Each blade of grass will draw a little current off the fence so the more grass there is - the less effective your net will be
- 1/.Do not store rolled-up fence on the ground near stored feed in a barn with rats and mice present.
Erecting a net is fairly straight forward and the only requirement is that the horizontal live wires do not touch the ground or come into contact with vegetation. The bottom wire is not live so may come into contact with the ground. Many Electric Poultry netting problems may be solved by simple observation and attention to detail.
1. Site preparation
Carry roll(s) of net to proposed fence line. Prepare line by either spraying with Glyphosate or mowing all vegetation over 4 inches tall. This creates a clean path for the fence.
A very sound idea is to lay a strip of builders damp-proofing (DPC) or plastic beneath the net (as shown in the photo.) This prevents grass growing up and touching the twine and makes maintenance a lot easier. It is such a simple solution to a major problem with nets. One other tip for when the grass starts to take off in summer - use a strimmer with a blade on to get right in close to the membrane, once you get used to it, you can just tuck the blade under the DPC and carefully walk along the fence line taking out all the excess grass.
2. Untying the roll of netting
Untie the 2 tie strings and pull apart the 2 metal clips to release the roll of net.
3. Unrolling the net
Grip all the posts as a group and lift them up in front of you. This allows the netting to unroll in front of you in a series of folded “pleats,” each attached to the posts in your hands. Lay unrolled pleats on the ground. Locate the beginning post. (It’s the post with 2 tie strings attached and a steel connector at the top.
4. Inserting the first post
Insert the beginning post into the soil beside a stronger support post or an existing fence. The plastic posts are great for the in-line posts but will bend under tension. Use the 2 tie strings to secure the first post to the support post or fence. Keep the net end post(s) at least 2" away from anything that is conductive (metal, wood, concrete)
5. Unfolding the net
Grip all remaining posts as a group and lift them up in front of you. Then walk backwards along the intended fence line, dropping each post as it’s pulled from your hands, thereby unfolding the netting. To reduce the risk of tangling the netting, try to drop or toss each post in sequence, helping to free it from the other posts you are still holding. Unfold entire roll of netting along the fence line.
6. Installing line posts
Starting at the first post, walk along fence line, picking up each post in turn and pushing it into the ground. Apply only enough sideways tension to each post to keep the netting erect and straight. A trick is to use your boot to pull against the stake until you feel quite a bit of tension and the bottom wire is pulled taught. Stretch netting just tight enough to stand up well. If there are changes in terrain then this must be catered for whilst tensioning the fence by using pegs to pull the bottom strand into the hollows.
7. Joining 2 rolls of standard net
Start the second roll by placing its first end post next to the last end post of the first net. Use the 2 tie strings to tie them together.
8. Joining 2 rolls electrically
To join one roll of standard netting to the next to provide an electrical connection, simply slide the built-in, stainless-steel male/female “power” connectors together by hand at one end. Do not use pliers to force them. The 2 pieces of metal only need to make and maintain contact.
10. Connect energizer to standard net
For either a battery (DC) or plug-in (AC mains) energizer, attach the lead wire from the fence terminal on energizer top clip at one end of the net as shown in the image.
11. Checking voltage
Never put animals into an electric fence enclosure without first checking it for adequate voltage with an electric fence tester. Touch one contact point to the soil or metal spike of the end post and the other contact point to the clip at the end of the fence. Voltage on a newly installed fence should exceed 4,000v. As time passes, grass or weeds will grow and touch the fence, causing the voltage to drop. Never allow it to drop below 2,000v
For those of you who use electric fencing to stop your horses straying or in the winter to prevent a paddock becoming a muddy morass.
As you know horses usually respect electric fencing when they are rug-less but as soon as you put a rung on then the general chaos starts this is because the rug insulates the horse from the fence so unless the horse touched the fence with a part of it's body without a rug on it will not get the necessary shock to make it back off.
The chest and neck areas of the Guardian Electric Fence rug panels built in are designed to act as a direct conduit for electricity between the fence and the horse. The current from the fence is instantly transferred to the inside panel where it is felt by the horse. The rugs and neck covers are made using specialist technical fabrics that simply pick up the pulse from the fence and carry it through to the inside of the rug . This simply means the horse receives the same effect from touching the fence as they would if the horse was rug less. The rugs are made using 100% fabric, so there is no wires or batteries at all – just very clever fabrics.
The rugs look and feel exactly the same as a normal turnout rug – but with the incredibly useful benefit that they all work with electric fencing to prevent escapes.
The entire outer layer of the neck cover will work with electric fencing, it does not matter if the horse puts his head underneath it or leans over the top, the neck cover will work instantly channelling the current through to the inside so the horse can feel the shock.
The rugs have a special strap on the inside that is designed to always be in direct contact with the horse – so you can layer multiple rugs (any brand or style) underneath your electric fence rug and still guarantee 100% effect from your fence every time.
This range of turn-out rugs has the added benefit of Du Ponts Shield + Teflon coating so the rug resists water absorption and also dries up to 50% quicker than normal fabrics following heavy rain. The Teflon coating helps to protect the fabrics and provides a more durable and breathable rug. The application of Teflon also helps the fabric to resist dirt and grease, if you have your rugs washed annually you can revive the Teflon coating by asking your rug washer to refresh the dwr coating using either a Teflon, Nik wax or similar dwr application.
Washing your Rug – All our rugs can be washed the same as any normal turnout rug – be sure to follow the 3 golden rules of washing a waterproof garment
- Always wash under 30c
- Always wash using a special turnout rug liquid or powder – normal household washing powders and liquids can severely damage or even completely remove the waterproof pu coating
- Always line dry your rugs – tumble drying can melt away the waterproof pu coating
These guidelines apply to washing any waterproof product
Foxes are hungry animals looking for food all year round.
With the cold weather rapidly approaching consideration must be given to the effectiveness of your electric fencing.
This may be effected in a few ways;-
12v Battery systems. Cold weather has a serious effect on batteries that are left out in freezing weather. This is caused by the cold affecting the chemical processes. All normal batteries convert chemical energy to electrical energy to enable it to push electrons into the circuit and most of these chemical reactions happen faster and freer at warm temperatures (perhaps between 15c and 37c) so a cold battery won't deliver the current or life of a moderately warm battery. When an increase in temperature occurs the electrons are excited. A decrease in temperature inhibits electron flow. This is a natural reaction on electrons in most systems. Furthermore, the combination of a rapid temperature change and high humidity can cause condensation to form and a potential hazard for your battery and device for that matter.
Cold enough and it won't work at all. The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes these chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand.
Temperature has a pronounced affect on battery life (Recharges and length of use). For every ten degrees of change in room temperature, Up to 50% of its' life is lost. So a battery with a life of a 100 charging cycles is reduced to 50. Usually a cold battery will be fine when thawed again, however a lead-acid or other wet-cell battery could rupture and be destroyed if frozen solid.
Snow Build up. Obviously if there is a build up of snow such that a conducting wire is engulfed in snow there will be a transfer of energy through the snow rendering the fence powerless.
Plastic and cold weather. As the temperature drops so the pliability of plastics is reduced caused by the molecules being unable to slip past each other.
A key factor in the molecules’ ability to slip and slide is temperature. Specifically, there is something called the “glass transition temperature” (Tg), which is the point below which an amorphous solid (such as glass, polymers, tire rubber, or cotton candy) goes from being ductile to brittle.
Many plastics exhibit their transition at everyday temperatures, and can be “frozen” into brittleness. One example: polypropylene, an inexpensive material often used in fencing tapes has a Tg of between -20 and 0 degrees C, so it can easily lose its molecular mobility and become shatter-prone on a winter day.
Wind. The above comments regarding brittleness are exacerbated if there is wind around. This is explained in this post on using Tape as a medium.
Solar Powered Energisers. Under normal sunny conditions a solar panel will easily cope with maintaining a battery but the amount of available light varies hugely throughout the year. This post indicates the variability of available solar energy in winter is seriously depleted - on occasions down to nothing for extended periods . Batteries must be closely monitored if you have this system in place. In addition to the low output achieved in the winter period, battery output is severely affected by cold weather as outlined above. The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand.
Following on from the post regarding the Effectiveness of Electric Fencing in protecting crops, there are alternate initiatives to achieve the same effect - protect crops from wild animals.
These are centred around the use of natural deterrents and include chilli plants and honey bees. It has been a long established knowledge that elephants are not enamoured by the presence of bees. Bear in mind these are not the tame European bee but the more aggressive African Bee (Apis mellifera). This is shown in the following clip. (Apologies for the beginning, this is a Youtube clip))
Not only is the sound of bees sufficient to scare a herd of elephants off, the warning sound emitted by the elephants (the deep rumbles that are audible) may also be used to move them on as shown in this clip;-
Unfortunately the elephants grew to realise there were no bees and the effectiveness deteriorated so a different strategy had to be developed.
By having actual beehives in a line around the necessary area as shown in the image below and linked together by wires so that if an elephant made contact with the wire this would disturb a few hives and cause a reaction from the bees (don't forget African bees are far more volatile than European strains) This arrangement has worked well.
There are several problems with this concept;-
- It is clearly not viable for extensive application and is only suited to small area protection.
- Each beehive would have in the region of 25000 bees.
- The bees themselves require food so if their food source over the year is limited then they tend to depart from the hives and seek better pastures.
- The bees are only effective against a small range of animals that feed on crops, majority of the smaller animals, wild pig, baboons, monkeys and antelope, that also do severe damage are not controlled
- Working in the fields can be occasionally fraught with danger.
There is definitely merit in the concept and has been used in India as well as Kenya with success but it does have limitations.
The Effectiveness of Electric Fencing is highlighted by this article posted in Kuensel, a Bhutan based newspaper.
"In the past two years, the country lost more than 754 truckloads of crops to wildlife, latest agriculture ministry records show. This means, each month, wildlife ravaged at least 31 truckloads of crops over the last 24 months.
Of that, more than 172 truckloads were paddy, 107 were potato and 20 were vegetables, among others considering a truck carries 10 metric tonnes (MT).
Department of Agriculture’s records from July 2013 to June 2015 show wild animals ravaged 8,058 acres of fields across the country causing a crop loss of 7,542MT, of which 1,725MT was paddy.
Agriculture officials said electric fencing has been the only effective measure to protect the crops.
A National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC) official said the electric fencing has been effective to keep away mainly wild boars, deer, and other small wild animals.
Applications for the equipment have come from Trashigang, Trongsa, Sarpang, Samtse, and Trashiyangtse.
NPPC’s senior plant protection officer Sangay Dorji said, “This year alone we have tendered out procurement of more than 600 energisers worth Nu 4.5 million.”
“There could be more requests with the dzongkhag agriculture officials,” he said.
The energisers would be distributed based on costs sharing basis at nominal rates.
Agriculture department’s director general Nim Dorji recently proposed the government to mainstream electric fencing system into the local development plan as a priority activity.
Since its legalisation in 2013, almost all gewogs have installed electric fencing, officials said. Officials said a total of 362km of electric fencing have been installed since then which protected 6,472 acres of agriculture land benefiting 3,015 households.
A kilometre of electric fencing costs a minimum of Nu 35,000 with Nu 35 to Nu 50 as annual electricity bill. An energiser, the main component that reduces power voltage to a safe limit with a fluctuating charge every 2.5 or 1.5 seconds, has to be used. The energiser that costs about Nu 7,000 can supply current on four strands of wire up to a kilometre. Except for the energiser, the rest of the technology is home made.
An official said the intention is to create a psychological barrier and not to kill wild animals.
The forest and park services department has installed 154.04 km of electric fencing at a cost of Nu 17.913M as new activity with funds mobilised though the International Development Agency and the World Bank.
Average landholding of the farmers in the country is 3.4 acres as of 2013. Only about eight percent of the country’s total land is fit for cultivation.
Thus, agriculture officials said it was imperative to establish effective measures for human wildlife conflict. The agriculture ministry would establish 1,000km of electric fencing within this year.
According to RNR statistics 2015, average production of paddy maize were over 76,621MT and 74,370MT annually with an average yield of 1,524kg and 1,224kg an acre respectively. The annual average potato production was 46,695MT with an average yield of 3,595kg an acre.
Sangay Dorji said this fiscal year the NPPC would study how effective the electric fencing system has been since its establishment.
“It’s important to learn how effective it is and also its problems to improve them,” he said.
The challenges with some of the fence, he said, have been their maintenance.
“A certain clearance is needed outside the fence but in some cases the bushes touch the fence and the circuit is broken letting in animals,” he said.
Human wildlife conflict endowment fund with the forestry department has reached a total collection of Nu 5.5M, and Nu 2.5M was released to form 5 GECC groups. Another 17 GECC groups are in progress with funding from projects outside the endowment fund.
Another record with the Policy and Planning Division of the ministry shows a total of 419km of electric fencing established between 2011 and June 2015 by the agriculture and forest departments benefiting 5,869 households.
Meanwhile, the department has formed a technical committee to study and report on food self suffice and food security status. The study assesses the self-sufficiency scenario based on the calorie requirement and the contribution from domestic production of each commodity.
Electric Poultry Netting is a very effective tool in the free range poultry field and is a highly versatile and portable solution to the problem of protecting poultry from predators (foxes, mink or dogs). Many trials have proved the effectiveness and countless people are now using some form of electric fencing to protect their poultry.
Netting is very easy to erect but, like every handy tool there is always one headache that does continually rear its head - grass growth. Netting is habitually placed over grass and as this grows, as all grass will grow, the green grass touches the electric filaments within the net and each blade that touches the fence will draw off a bit of energy and so if there are sufficient the fence will be totally compromised and ineffective.
How to Keep Grass off the Netting
1/. Lift or move the netting and cut the grass short either with a mower or a strimmer. This is reasonably effective but will be a constant and regular operation. Care must be taken not to cut the net lines as the operation is carried out.
2/. Spray the grass with a desiccant herbicide that will kill the grass and prevent it growing. These are obtainable and normally based on Glyphosate mixed with Dicamba. These are effective but normally require a couple of sprays in the year. Many people do not like using chemicals on their fields and lawns. Leaves an ugly brown strip that takes time to re-grow when the netting is moved.
3/. Place a strip of builders damp course under the net. This prevents the grass from growing up into the net and insulates the net from the ground if a wire sags onto the damp proofing. The edges may still need to be strimmed to keep long grass away but the operation is much easier and the net does not have to be moved to complete the operation.
There is a misconception that the electric current will "burn" off encroaching grass and prevent them touching. This is not correct. The vast majority of energisers now manufactured are of the low impedance variety so do not create a spark when shorted out so the grass is not burned off.
One of the major concerns about Electric Fencing is whether it is safe or not. This is covered in some detail in an earlier posting on this blog and just to highlight the difference between standard mains electricity and electric fencing there are numerous incidences, particularly in India, where animals and humans have been killed or injured by "Electric Fences" that have been connected directly to a mains supply.
This is invariably by a poor farmer who has seen the effectiveness of electric fencing and his meagre crops are being ruined by animals. He then looks at ways to protect himself and his crops so settles on an "Electric Fence" little realising that there is a big difference between what he does and what is supplied by Agrisellex.
"COIMBATORE: A 20-year-old Makna elephant was electrocuted at Palapalli in Bitharkadu forest range in Pandalur taluk in Nilgiris district on Sunday. Krishnadass and Chandran had cultivated banana, ginger and arcea on about three acres. They were irritated as an elephant had damaged the crops for the last two days. They arranged for electricity to pass through the fence illegally. The elephant approached the grove on Sunday morning and died on the spot after coming into contact with the fence.
Veterinarian Vijayragahavan performed the post-mortem of the animal in the presence of Bitharkadu Forest Range Officer Somasundaram at 9 am. The grove is located 100 metres from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). Forest official officials booked the duo under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1971. However, they fled from the spot. This is the second instance of an elephant getting electrocuted in Bitharkadu forest range in the last two months. Wildlife activists have condemned the farmers for this.
Death of wild elephants due to electrocution in The Nilgiris district has become a cause of concern. N Sadiq Ali, founder, Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT) said, officials of the forest department, wildlife crime control bureau (WCB) and their members will launch an awareness programme to control such incidents in the villages in The Nilgiris district under the Panchayat Raj Scheme soon."