Finding the Ideal Fencing Solutions
Published on Fri, 08/19/2022 - 2:32pm
Finding the Ideal Fencing Solutions.
By Maura Keller.
Rotational grazing is a vital component of most producers’ ranch or farming efforts. As such, installing the proper fencing that to systematically control rotational grazing is paramount. In addition, both electric and non-electric traditional fencing helps keep animals safe and controls their movement on a farm or ranch.
There has been a lot of interest in rotational grazing and regenerative agriculture in the last several years. According to Bob Schermer of Powerflex Fence, the products for grazing systems have not changed a lot but the demand and interest has increased over the last few years.
“We are constantly working with our customers new and old to develop a system that works for their needs,” Schermer says. “We have a lot of different options for grazing but mainly focus on electric fencing and water sources.”
For instance, Powerflex Fence sells a variety of fencing products geared toward rotational grazing, as well as fencing and watering systems for grazing. As a full-service supplier and consultant for all rotational grazing needs, Powerflex Fence is not locked into any particular brand. Rather, the company searches for the best products for the best value that will stand up to the demands placed upon them by their customers’ grazing systems.
When selecting a fencing system, it is important to have a detailed plan established. Are you grazing sheep, goats, pigs or cattle? How much livestock are you planning on grazing? What are your future plans? Why do you want to subdivide pastures?
“A management intensive grazing (MIG), or rotational-style grazing system, trains your livestock better eating habits through controlled portioning,” Schermer says. “For the livestock producers, management intensive means working smarter, not harder.”
When it comes to fencing components, the number one component to any electric fence is the energizer. With a multitude of choices available, it can be confusing.
“It is important to have enough power to energize your current fencing needs and future fencing needs,” Schermer says. “The number one problem most people make is under energizing their fence. Grounding is linked directly to the performance of an energizer.”
Of course, the most labor-intensive component to installing a fence is the post. It is important to evaluate at what distance should the line post be placed, as well as installing a solid corner/end post with a well-constructed brace post.
“Water availability is most often the limiting factor in setting up a grazing system,” Schermer says. “With installation of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) roll pipe, water line fittings and quick coupler valves and risers, this concern can be resolved.”
When evaluating whether an electric or conventional non-electric fence is the best solution, the experts at Gallagher indicate that “electric fences cost less than 50 percent of conventional non-electric fences.” Quite simply, once the initial expense of an electric fence purchase and installation is complete, there is less maintenance required on an electric fence than on a traditional, non-electric one. Because there is low physical contact with the electric fence by the animals, they last longer.
As Merle Mohr, retired Gallagher Territory Manager explains, electric fencing is a mental barrier for the animal, not a physical one. “The animal receives a short, sharp but safe shock that is memorable enough that the animal never forgets,” Mohr says.
Gallagher offers several types of electric fencing including permanent fencing, temporary and portable fencing, as well as retrofit fencing options. Whereas, permanent fencing is ideal for producers looking for a permanent animal control solution, temporary and portable electric fencing is the perfect rotational grazing solution for ranchers.
Standard Fencing “Must Haves”
While rotational fencing products are a core component of any ranching operation, there are some “must have” fencing products that should be part of most rancher’s fencing inventory of products.
Hilary Kleese, content brand manager, Gemplers Farm & Home Supply, a family-owned enterprise that focuses on finding and developing problem-solving products for farmers and ranchers, says some key “must-have” fencing components for when you are installing only a post or two include a 2” diameter steel post pounder and the Structron Hi-Vis Posthole Digger. The post pounder features steel tubing and a solid steel head for maximum driving force. It is constructed from a 3/16” thick schedule 40 steel tubing and features a solid steel head for maximum driving force. The posthole digger features a hi-vis green color and retroreflective, microprismatic tape that help keep the producer visible in high-traffic areas.
“There are also some key fencing innovations that cattlemen should know about,” Kleese says. The Field Tec Shock-Absorbing Post Driver is an ergonomic manual post driver that works on posts under 2” in diameter. As Kleese explains, it is easy to use with a tapered end that quickly slides over posts. The handles adjust for easy access to tight corners and it’s designed to absorb shock, with shock absorbers that channel impact forces away from the operator. And it features a built-in leveling system that helps drive posts straight every time.
In addition, the CAT Posthole Digger features a patented handle that’s rated the strongest in its class following U.S. government specifications.
“This heavy-duty posthole digger makes it easy to prep holes for installing fences. The virtually indestructible handle has an anti-slip, multi-position grip for a firm, comfortable hold while working,” Kleese says.
For cattlemen looking for fencing solutions for hard, compacted soil or frozen soil, Kleese suggests evaluating the Rhino GPD-30 Ranch Pro Gas-Powered Post Driver.
“It saves your back while driving posts, rods and stakes in seconds,” Kleese says. “You’ll save time, energy and back-breaking strain, as it drives a variety of posts, rods and stakes in seconds, and works with T-posts, form pins and ground rod posts up to 1-5/8”-dia.”
It’s also surprisingly lightweight for easy handling and transporting.
Another gas-powered gem is the Minuteman FH (Fixed Handle) Post Driver, an ideal one-person, gas-powered driver guaranteed to save time and energy driving fence posts up to 2 inches in diameter with no digging required. The self-contained unit eliminates the need for digging, with a weight balanced design that can be operated alone. The FH drives a wide range of posts, including T-posts, form pins, ground rods and chain link posts ranging from 1-3/8- to 1-7/8 inches.
“The Minuteman XL8 Rotatable Handle Post Driver is another gas-powered post driver that features a rotatable handle. It makes safe, one-person driving possible and is designed for driving posts up to eight feet tall with no digging required,” Kleese says. Even without a ladder, the XL8 can drive posts up to 8 feet tall with your feet on the ground and no digging, thanks to its unique rotating handle design. This feature allows it to be operated from above or below.
For cattlemen looking for an advanced Auger, Gemplers offers the Badger Gas-Powered Earth Auger, which boasts a high-torque transmission with a proven, heavy-duty clutch and optimum gear ratio for drilling holes quickly and easily.
Of course, fencing pliers are vital for proper fence installations. “The right specialized fencing pliers offer strength and durability, as well as multi-purpose utility over pliers not designed specifically for fencing,” Kleese says. The forged steel of the Multi-purpose Head Fence Pliers from Gemplers offers strength and durability – a required attribute when using this multi-purpose fence pliers to stretch, cut, splice and tighten fence wire. These fence pliers are made from forged steel for strength and durability and have vinyl grips for comfort.
DEWALT Fencing Pliers are also a favorite among cattlemen thanks in part to their ability to hammer, remove staples, stretch and splice wires, plus these fencing pliers have two different wire cutters as an added bonus.
Mistakes To Avoid
There are key issues that producers need to pay attention to when selecting and installing fencing. As Schermer explains, T-post and rebar with yellow insulators are a recipe for disaster when it comes to electric fencing.
“The yellow insulators have no UV stabilization so when the sun dries them out, a miniscule crack can short out the fence causing a lot of headaches trying to find the short. Fortunately, the better choice of black or dark green insulators which have a carbon component allowing for UV stabilizer,” Schermer says. “By switching to fiberglass line post grazers will help eliminate timely repairs and challenges looking for the short on their fence.”
Essentially, it pays to do your homework when investing in a fencing system. “In this economy, it never hurts to use your resources to the fullest,” Schermer says. “A relatively small investment of time and money can save you plenty of both in the long run and improve your bottom line.”