Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin have left a trail of damage in their wake. How have your electric fences fared? Making the time to systematically check fences should be a priority ahead of turnout.
Mark Oliver UK sales manager with Gallagher Europe says storms can cause significant problems with all types of fencing and urges livestock farmers to check electric fencing and repair any before turnout.
“Broken branches and fallen trees could have damaged fencing or caused a fault leading to loss of power. Posts may have broken or worked loose leading to less tension in the fence. In extreme circumstances, the earth may have been compromised.
“If you follow a logical approach to checking the fence you will quickly identify and rectify any issues. A structured fence assessment like the Gallagher fence check will ensure fences are working effectively.”
Energiser working correctly
He says the first stage is to ensure the energiser is working correctly by carrying out a voltage check using a digital voltmeter or a fault finder. Then check the fence voltage at the end of the fence. If the reading is zero, then the fence is broken somewhere along its length.
“There is always a degree of voltage loss along the length of the fence. If the difference between the end of the fence and the energiser is less than 1500V, then the fence is working correctly and is adequately earthed. If the difference is more than 1500V then there is a fault with either the fence or the earth, so both need checking.”
The next stage involves physically walking the entire length of the fence checking the condition of posts and wire. Remove any debris which might cause the fence to short out such as branches. Trim back any undergrowth touching the wire. If the wire has gone slack, retighten it to the correct tension. If the wire has broken, reconnect using a suitable connector.
Replace any broken posts and make sure all posts are upright and firmly footed. Damaged insulators on posts are a common cause of lost power and should be replaced.
“Finally check the earth. If the earthing is inadequate you will need to add more earth stakes.
“Time spent checking the effectiveness of electric fencing will mean you can turn stock out with confidence that your animals will stay where you want them and give peace of mind throughout the grazing season,” Mr Oliver concludes.
To watch a video on the Gallagher Fence Check go to https://www.gallagher.eu/en_gb/check