High Tensile Electric Fencing – Why use it?

Sometimes, in the course of offering insight and scope, we often lose sight of the most basic essential questions. Why do we use High Tensile Electric Fencing to begin with? What are the benefits of using it over the traditional alternatives?

I think that the obvious answer is initial costs, lower maintenance, as well as the perpetual costs of ownership. I came across an article that makes an accurate comparison between your basic choices of fence types. It was prepared by Iowa State University Extension, so I feel that it is a pretty unbiased report. Prices are based on 2005 markets, so there have likely been some upward swings in price since then, but they should reflect pretty much equally across the board.

The link to this PDF file is: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/publications/fm1855.pdf  and I suggest that you print it off and study it. If you do that, I think that you will get a good feel for the benefits of High Tensile Electric Fencing – in case you are just beginning to consider it.

When you first begin using electric fencing, I think it is quite normal to NOT have complete confidence in it. You will likely wonder if it is as secure as a barbed or woven wire fence. You may want to use traditional fences on your perimeters and electric on your interior cross fences. Once you DO have confidence in it – you will not have any hesitation to use it also on your perimeters.

If you already have good quality traditional perimeter fences and you want to utilize them with your grazing system; then I feel that the very best thing you can do is install a 12.5 gauge high tensile hot wire around your entire perimeter. What this will do for you is that it will keep your livestock off of your existing fence, thus making it last longer. But, additionally, it will give you an electrified hot wire to run ALL of your electric interior cross fences off of. You can tap onto this wire anywhere that you need a cross fence.

This hot wire around your perimeter can be put up economically with either standoff brackets or by adding a short post and preferably about 10” to 12” inside of the fence. You should use a large enough charger to have from 6,000 to 9,000 volts on the wire.

Where electric fences really save you money and give you a huge amount of flexibility – is in the use of portable polywire fences. These fences can be put up and moved where you need them for around .18 cents per foot. For a more permanent interior cross fence, all you need is 1 strand of high tensile wire (about 30” off the ground) on a 4’ PasturePro post. This fence will cost you less than 15 cents per foot in materials.

Take a look at the Tables in the link above and do your own math. I think you will be impressed with the potential and cost savings of high tensile electric fencing. Also look at the table that show the costs of ownership, which is about 1/3 the costs of traditional fences. With the rapid increases of input costs for agriculture….you must find ways to be more productive in a more sustainable way. Electric fencing will help you accomplish that. As always, please feel free to contact us anytime with your questions and comments.


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.
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