Stretching High Tensile Woven Wire

High tensile woven wire with hickory PasturePro posts

We’ve been using high tensile woven wire for our new perimeter fences over the last couple of years. The 7 strand, 36″ tall fixed knot woven wire (7/36/24) makes a very nice non-electrified perimeter.

There is also the option of electrifying the woven wire since PasturePro posts are self-insulated, especially on small acreages or for short spells. But on bigger acreages, even using the largest energizers, it has been difficult to keep a sufficient amount of voltage on the fence in our humid conditions.

Stretching the wire from the middle requires two stretcher bars - pulled together with chain grabs or come-alongs as seen here - results in more even wire tension. This looks a lot better after the wires have been cut and spliced.

We raise the woven wire 4-6″ off the ground and then run a 12.5 gauge smooth wire 3-4″ above that for a 46″ high fence. Using wood posts every 200 feet and PasturePro posts every 20 feet between the wood posts, the fence comes out looking good and is very tight. This eliminates the worries of having baby calves slip between wires and ending up on a neighbor’s pasture.

Here are a couple of tips I’ve learned when installing the woven wire:

  • Unrolling the wire can be done in a number of ways, but I’ve ended up unwinding the roll on a bale spear on the front or back of my tractor. This is easier than sticking a bar through the roll and walking it out with another person and much easier than rolling it out on the ground if you don’t have anyone to help you.
  • Think about buying two stretcher bars. I think the extra expense is worth the ease of having two bars when stretching the wire.
  • Stretch the wire from the middle (requires two stretcher bars). The wire takes quite a bit of stretching and I have been unable to stretch it evenly if I just pull from one end.
  • We use come-alongs to pull the stretcher bars together. I’m told the top notch fence builders use chain grabs, but the come-alongs seem to work just fine.
  • Try using Gripples instead of crimping sleeves to connect the wire. This has eliminated the headache of stretching the wire on hills and dips by allowing us to vary the tension on the top and bottom wires. Gary, our Field Representative for PasturePro, suggests slipping a regular crimping sleeve on the wire before attaching the Gripples so that way you can crimp the wire together if you notice them starting to slip. I’ve never tried this but it would be cheap insurance if you had any concerns.

Gripples are more expensive than crimps, but they allow you to adjust the tension on the wires incrementally which is really useful on rolling terrain.

If you’re looking to use high tensile woven wire for the first time, Kencove Fence should carry everything you need to get started. For a basic installation guide, take a look at the very good tutorial on www.staytuff.com.

Feel free to contact me as well if you have any installation questions or suggestions.

 

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About Steve Freeman

Steve Freeman joined Forester Industries as a partner in 2005 after being one of the first customers to use the PasturePro post. He installed his first electric fence in the early 1980’s and implemented management intensive grazing in 1987. Presently, the operation is exclusively beef cattle, but in the past it has also included both goats and sheep. Steve is always happy to talk grazing practices, livestock raising and fence building.
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