Livestock fencing is essential for keeping your cattle safe and ready for market. Without good fencing, you risk losing cattle and reducing your bottom line. Fortunately, most mistakes are easily fixed, but you have to find them first. Here are seven common cattle fencing mistakes and how to address them on your Carlsbad, NM ranch:
- Undersized corner posts: This is a common mistake with barbed and high-tensile wire fences. Since fencing is often built in haste, ranchers may choose posts that are too small and then compound the problem by not setting them deeply enough in the ground. This is particularly troublesome if your property contains soft or sandy soils. To fix this, replace your posts with larger ones and ensure they’re braced deep in the ground.
- Close spacing: Some people feel that close spacing between posts allows for better security. When you install barbed wire, the general rule is 16.5 feet between posts, but that does not work for all types of fencing. If you have an electric fencing system, space posts 80 to 100 feet apart, which is approximately 50 posts per mile. If you need help holding wire up, install a shorter post that sits on the ground and holds the wires.
- Energizer is the wrong size: The energizer provides power to electric fences. If you purchase one that is too small, the fence will not hold the appropriate charge to keep livestock within the fence. This can be a bad development if one of your cows is an escape artist! The recommended rating is one joule of output per mile of fence. So, if you have six miles of fence, you need a six-joule energizer.
- Close ground rods: If ground rods are too close together, your electric fence will not be able to move current as efficiently. A good rule of thumb is three feet of ground rods per joule of energizer output. So, if you are using a six-joule energizer, you should have 18 feet of ground rounds spaced 10 feet apart.
- Attempts to make fences wildlife proof: There is no doubt that wildlife is rough on fences. Elk can bend t-posts and break energizers and insulators. The instinct is to make these fences stronger, but in reality, flexibility works best. This allows wildlife to pass through pastures without damaging fences, and replacing t-posts with PowerFlex fence posts means less damage in the future. The other option is to install a low-profile fence that smaller herd animals can run under and larger ones can jump.
- Carrying current through gates: Gate system current is a challenge, and most people install it wrong. Rather than attempt to install electric fence wire conventionally, place a floating diagonal on each side of the gate.
- Using steel posts: Steel posts and electric fencing do not mix. You will place too much of the burden on the insulator to keep the fence from shorting out. Instead, use plastic or wood-plastic composite posts.
Guadalupe Mountain Fencing LLC in Carlsbad, NM offers fence installation that will avoid all seven of these common cattle fencing mistakes. We know this area and know how to build the perfect fence for your ranch or farm. Call us today to schedule an estimate.