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fencing

Fencing has been the word lately. When Jamie started going into labor, we were actually at a farm supply store picking up fencing supplies. The electric fence has been lacking and many of the cattle have lost respect for it. Which has resulted in the polywire being knocked down everyday.

When we got home from the hospital, we were greeted by all the cattle being out and in the yard. The power was out in the house and the generator was out of gas... So now that things have settled down a bit, I have gone about checking the fence with my new Fence Compass. And it is AWESOME! It tells me the voltage of the lines and helps to identify faults that are grounding out the system. With the help of compass, I believe I confirmed an earlier suspicion that the connection from the battery to the charger was not a good one. I messed with it for a while and was able to almost double the voltage of the system getting up to 9500 volts. Taking the advice of my fence distributor, i put peanut butter on some pieces of tin foil and hung them on the electric fence. The intent being that will investigate the peanut butter and get hit hard with shock which will help to re-educate the cattle on electric fence. It's been over a week and no cattle have gotten out. (Correction, I just watched a heifer walk through a one wire fence. I haven't checked the fence yet this morning so I need to see if the battery connection is off again). It's doubly important to get this corrected now as it will be harder to contain them as their winter coats come in and the ground freezes, as they won't feel much of a shock.

 Here is the new Fence Compass. As you can see my voltage is at 9.5kV and I have 8 amps of resistance coming from a small fault somewhere to the right of the compass.

Here is our fence charger setup. This was put in right before we put the cattle out in late February. Since we weren't sure what the power situation was going to be, we opted for a solar setup. 

I also threw together a rig to hold my step-in posts and other tools. This is just a prototype. I already have a bunch of changes I need to make when I take the time to build a final product.

Rich  – (December 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM)  

If you are looking for ideas for building a fencing setup for your ATV, there is a post about one at:

http://back2basicsbeef.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-build-14-mile-of-fence-in-6.html

It looks almost like you could drive along and put up a fence without getting off the ATV. Drive along with the wire rolling out, then grab a post off the rack and stick it in the ground, drive a little more and grab another post. Take down a fence by rolling up the wire, then drive along pulling posts and slipping them onto the rack.

Farmer Jon  – (December 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM)  

Thanks for the link Rich. It looks like a nice setup. I need to practice my driving and putting posts in the ground but a rig like that would sure help. Another issue I have is my throttle is on the right and I'm right handed. Watching me try to put posts in with my left hand is not a pretty sight. Come to think of it, that sounds like good enough reason to buy a better ATV. Don't you think?

I was just telling my fencing guy that I definitely prefer the pigtail posts over the others. I might need to consider getting more just so I can hang them like he did. The majority of my posts aren't pigtails and won't hang like that.
A 1/4 mile of fence in 6 minutes, sure would be nice.

Rich  – (December 21, 2011 at 11:21 PM)  

I'm not moving electric fencing on a daily basis, but most of my electric fences are semi-permanent with rebar posts.

All the little plates usually fall off my rebar posts and I tighten the insulators on the posts so they don't move. Without those worthless plates, I can easily store them all in a bucket and throw the bucket in the back of the truck when I am building fences. Those pre-tightened insulators also keep me from smashing my hand when I'm swinging a hammer (sometimes it's easier than it should be for me to miss a 1/2" post).

Without the plates, you could mount something like a piece of 4" PVC with a cap at an angle on the front of a ATV to use as a rebar post quiver. Mount it on the left side of your ATV so you can grab a post with your left hand and hold the hammer in your right hand so you won't have to get off the ATV (with my ATV, I can let go of the throttle and just sit there without moving while I'm still in gear).

Farmer Jon  – (December 22, 2011 at 8:48 PM)  

Thanks Rich. I'm interested in hearing more about your operation. If you don't mind, of course. You can email me if you don't want to post it here.

Rich  – (December 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM)  

I farm in Oklahoma about 50 miles north of Oklahoma City on about 560 acres.

There is about 200 acres of cropland, which is no-tilled to winter wheat, grain sorghum, and a little soybeans last summer.

Hay is baled on around 30-50 acres (it varies), and the rest is pasture. Sometimes the cropland will be baled if there is a good volunteer stand of crabgrass or I plant something like sorghum-sudangrass or millet.

The cattle side is mainly a cow-calf operation, with the calves sold as yearlings or feeders (750-900 lbs.) at the stockyards.

Some of the heifer calves are raised as replacements for our herd. And, a few steers are usually grown out and sold as beef to friends or family.

The cattle are all commercial black angus cows with registered black angus bulls.

If there is sufficient wheat pasture, the calves graze in the winter on the wheat. And, the cows will winter on grain sorghum stubble.

There is a more detailed description on another series of comments I once made on another blog at:

http://ouroldfarm.blogspot.com/2011/04/reflections-on-final-clover-field-day.html

I wrote those comments before I rented another quarter section this summer, so the farm has changed slightly since then, but there should be enough information there to answer some of your questions.

If you are interested in anything else, ask away. I can't guarantee that my answers will work for anyone else, so buyer beware.

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