Electric Fence Configurations

We often get asked which posts should be used for different types of fence
configurations. Below is our chart (with additional installation notes below) of general configuration guidelines and driving depths.

These guidelines should help you choose the post and type of fence that will meet your needs, but this chart is NOT all inclusive and there may be many different variations on each of these configurations. If you have any questions about your fencing project, please feel free to call or email us anytime.

Table 1 – Fence Configurations for 12.5 Gauge High Tensile Wire Tensioned to 200 pounds
A B C D E F G
Number of Wires Top Wire Height Post to Use Vertical Spacing (from top wire to ground) Post in Ground Spacing of Line Posts Applications
1 30″ 1848 30″ 14″ 40′ to 60′ Trained cows
and dairy
2 30″ 1854 10″
20″
16″ 40′ to 60′ Cross fence for stockers, cows and larger calves
3 40″ 1460 10″
10″
20″
18″ 40′ to 60′ Cross fence for stockers and cow calf pairs
3 (Hog Fence) 24″ 1848 10″
8″
6″
14″ 30′ to 50′ Boundary or cross fence for hogs
5 44″ 1466 10″
10″
8″
8″
8″
18″ 40′ to 60′ Boundary fence for cow/calves and mature cattle.
Cross fence for sheep goats
6 46″ 1266 10″
10″
8″
6″
6″
6″
18″ 30′ to 60′ Boundary fence for cow/calves Boundary fence for sheep/goats
7 50″ 1272 10″
8″
8″
6″
6″
6″
6″
20″ 30′ to 50′ Boundary fence for sheep/goats
Table 2 – Fence Configurations for Coated Wire or Rope for Horse Fencing
A B C D E F G
Number of Wires Top Wire Height Post to Use Vertical Spacing (from top wire to ground) Post in Ground Spacing of Line Posts Applications
4 50″ 1272 10″
10″
10″
20″
20″ 20 to 30′ Horses

Column A Notes - The number of wires will be determined by the type of livestock that you will have exposed to the fence. The difficulty factor for the average farm animals is; cattle, being the easiest, and goats, by nature, are probably the hardest. In all cases, a good training area is highly recommended to teach new animals about the electric fence and instill a memory of the shock that they receive from it – BEFORE you just turn them out into the pasture. Trained animals will eventually require less strands or number of wires to contain them. Also remember that keeping adequate voltage on your wires is ultimately important as well.

Column B Notes - The height of the top wire will be the determining factor to know what length of post you will install. Take Column B, minus the recommended ground penetration of the post into the earth, column E, and then add approximately 2”. If there is any suspicion that you may want to add another wire on top at a later time, then we recommend that you take that into consideration. The top wire height recommendations are somewhat generalized and somewhat of an industry standard. Animals will tend to NOT jump over a hot wire that has good voltage in it.

Column C Notes - This is our general recommendation for the fence configurations shown in the chart. You may use a larger sized post in almost all cases, but we recommend not using anything smaller in diameter to accommodate the criteria of each type of fence.

Column D Notes - Vertical wire spacings is the distance between the top wire and the second wire and so on to the ground. They are applicable to each individual animal group and / or whether the fence is a boundary fence or interior cross fence. Common sense suggests that a boundary fence should have tighter vertical wire spacings than an interior cross or grazing fence. The closer that your bottom wire is to the ground the more load you will encounter during periods of rapid vegetation growth.

The fence wires may be hooked up as all hot, or a alternating hot / ground configuration or as a bi-polar mode in which there would be alternating positive or negative charges in the wires. Please consult with your energizer manual for hook up options and recommendations.

Column E Notes – This is the minimum distance that the posts should be driven into the ground. These recommendations are based on a universal soil type and may vary depending upon the actual soil conditions on your particular farm. I.e.: if you have especially loose or sandy soil, then we would recommend that you add to our minimum recommendations.

Column F Notes- Spacing of line posts is the distance between the line posts in the fence line. These distances will range from 20’ to 60’; however the standard distance does vary from region to region. For example; in very flat and open country this spacing may be greater and in very steep and hilly country they may need to be less. In the case of building fence over steep ridges, the line posts may need to be closer together in order to maintain wire spacing that conforms to the terrain.

LINE BOSSES are recommended at ridges and dips of terrain. We recommend using a 4” to 6” treated (or acceptable natural wood species) wood post for your line bosses. They will add structure and added strength at points where extra tension may be pulling down, up or horizontally on your line posts. Actually adding some line boss posts (one every 200’ to 300’) into your boundary fences will only add more security to your fence. If you have any questions about using Line Bosses, please give us a call.

Column G Notes - Applications: These are our general recommendations for different species of farm animals and for boundary or interior cross fences. Yes, there may be many other configurations that could be utilized. If you have specific needs or circumstances, please feel free to contact us anytime – we will be happy to help you any way that we can.

Some additional comments / recommendations:

  • The type of wire that you should use on permanent high tensile electric fence should be a minimum of 12.5 gauge with a class III finish or better. The PSI rating should be 170,000 or greater. If you plan to hand knot your wire, then the 170K is the best choice, as it will work better with your hands. If you plan to use crimp sleeves, then up to 200,000 psi is ok. Some may use 14 gauge wires; however we highly recommend NOT using fence wire that is less than 14 gauge. 12.5 gauge works best and offer much less resistance for the flow of electricity.
  • Wire tension; is critical and comes natural after you have built some high tensile fences. Our target recommendation for wire tension is 200 pounds, but the acceptable range is from 150 to 250 pounds. In essence, you want the wire to be taunt, but still somewhat springy and bouncy. The best “eyeball” method is to watch the sag between your line posts as you tension the wire. Just as the sag is almost gone between line posts – stop tensioning. You should use one tensioner for each 1⁄4 mile of fence. You should inspect your wire tension periodically and adjust as necessary, as it can expand and contract with extremes in hot or cold temperatures.
  • Drill a 7/32” or 3/16” hole in the PasturePro Posts for your cotter pins. Do not oversize the hole.
  • When attaching the cotter pin – DO NOT wrap the tail of the cotter pin around the fence wire. The fence wires need free travel thru the cotter pins. [The exception here is when using fence stays or dropper posts, in which case you DO want to tie the cotter pins tight on the fence wire to keep them from moving up or down the fence line.]
  • Driving PasturePro Posts: can be accomplished with a standard manual post driver or with shorter posts a short handled hand held sledge hammer will work. If using hydraulic pressure or power drivers, it will be necessary to slide a steel pipe sleeve over the post to keep it from flexing when driven.
  • In extremely rocky or hard ground a Pilot Driver may make the job easier. Additionally you could use a rotary hammer drill with a long concrete bit, to install posts in extremely difficult conditions.
  • HORSE fence note: try NOT to put your lower wire any closer than 20” from the ground. Coated wire or 6mm electrified braided rope is a safe alternative to HT wire. Although we are showing a 4 strand boundary fence configuration – a single strand is adequate for rotational or spot grazing. Insulators are not necessary, but may be screwed to PasturePro Posts for tapes or other Equine fencing, should you wish to do so.
  • We are here to help you in any way we can…..contact us with any questions or concerns in the comments below, or give us a call at 1-800-563-6771.
avatar

About Gary Duncan

Gary has been active in the fence business for over 15 years. He also raises Highland cattle in a management intensive grazing system and was the first person to market the PasturePro post back in 2005. He enjoys discussing all things grazing and is the main contributor to the blog.
This entry was posted in Buying Tips, Fencing Tips, Horses, How-tos, Products. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Electric Fence Configurations

  1. avatar Willard Wamsley says:

    What about burning pastures. Wood and plastic can’t be good.

    • avatar Steve Freeman says:

      Hi Willard–PasturePro posts have an ignition temperature very similar to pine posts. They do burn and they burn slowly like a candle. We occasionally burn our Native Warm Season pastures and have caught a few posts on fire. We carry backpack water sprayers and have been able to distinguish the fire. Posts look a little damaged but still hold up a wire fine.

      We try to avoid burning under our fences to save as much galvanization as possible on the wire. But if you’re making large burns it’s pretty tough to avoid this and our posts would not be suitable if this is part of the management system.

  2. avatar Ron Cash says:

    What about a bend or arc in the fence line? i want to fence along a ridge and the overall pasture will end up somewhat shaped like a D. do I need to use line boss posts the entire arc? Should I just try and square it up some more?

    • avatar Lacy Weimer says:

      Ron,
      What type of wire are you using? How much tension will be applied?
      Is there a large angle of degree change from post to post going around the arc?

      Your added information will allow us to give you a more informed answer, to help build the best fence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>