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High-Tensile Fencing Tips from Greg Judy

By   /  March 25, 2019  /  9 Comments

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High-tensile electric fence is the most effective and economical fence that you can build on leased land and it’s what I put up after negotiating a 10 year lease on a farm that had no fencing.

In this 2:38 video, I describe how I set up a 5-strand hi-tensile fence using 12.5 gauge 180,000 psi hi-tensile wire. It’s good for sheep, pigs, goats and cattle, and prevents deer from getting caught in it. You’ll also see the inexpensive replacement I use for the cotter keys that are normally sold with hi-tensile fencing.

The posts, and how you attach the wire, and maintain them is also a critical part of this fencing system. Check out this 4:32 video for details on how setting up corner posts. Our fiberglass corner posts don’t require insulators when you electrify your fence. Even better, they will never rot or rust. You simply pound them into the ground and build your fence. Quick to build and makes an attractive fence.

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Since it’s fencing season we’ll be sharing more how-to tips over the next few weeks. I’ve found some great tips for barbed wire, and for welded wire fencing. Tell me what you need to know and I’ll look for the information you need! 

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About the author

contributor

Greg and Jan Judy of Clark, Missouri run a grazing operation on 1400 acres of leased land that includes 11 farms. Their successful custom grazing business is founded on holistic, high-density, planned grazing. They run cows, cow/calf pairs, bred heifers, stockers, a hair sheep flock, a goat herd, and Tamworth pigs. They also direct market grass-fed beef, lamb and pork. Greg's popularity as a speaker and author comes from his willingness to describe how anyone can use his grazing techniques to create lush forage, a sustainable environment and a successful business.

9 Comments

  1. Emily Macdonald says:

    I want to fence sheep on my own land. I have considered 5 wire high tensile and woven wire high tensile for perimeter fence. Woven wire is much more expensive, of course, but I am worried about predators going under the bottom wire of the five wire fence. Have you experienced any trouble with that?
    What about power outages or short-outs? Is the peace of mind you get with woven wire worth the extra expense for a perimeter fence on owned land?

    Also, I would like to know what you are using to energize your 5 wire. What’s your electricity source, energizer, and grounding system?

    • Bill Fosher says:

      On land you own, the woven wire would be my choice. Add a single 12.5 g HT wire six inches above the top of the woven wire to keep predators from climbing over.

      The kind of fence that Greg has will *usually* keep sheep in on the kind of land that he shows in the videos — fairly even terrain — and int the climate that he operates in where ground frost is minimal.

      You’re right to be concerned about lambs going under the bottom wire, especially if there’s a weed load on the fence keeping the voltage down.

      I’ve had this fence and a modified seven-wire version of it and found that unless I cleared the fence line with a weed whacker at least monthly during the growing season, I couldn’t keep an adequate charge on the wires to keep sheep in.

      What this fence design will not do — even if it’s working well — is provide protection from predators. Coyotes and domestic dogs can clear a 42 inch fence without breaking stride. They can also jump between the top two wires without consequence. The problem that Greg described — having young deer get caught in the top wire — has happened to me once in 30 years with 48 and 54 inch perimeter fences. It could probably be avoided by improving the visibility of the top conductor by using a polyrope or tape conductor or by tying surveyor’s tape to the HT wire between each post.

      I think if you have uneven terrain or significant coyote pressure, or live in a humid climate like the northeastern US, you will spend the life of this fence wishing you had built the more expensive woven wire.

      I don’t know about the standards for other states, but this construction would not meet the requirements for cost share from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Hampshire. Corners and ends wouldn’t be adequate. I think the fiberglas posts would be acceptable as line posts, but the corners and ends are subject to too much frost movement to work well in climates where the ground freezes solid to a depth of three or four feet regularly.

      This is a non-trivial consideration because if you have a 10 year lease on a piece of land, you’d be eligible for cost share on it.

      One last point — on the line posts, I’d want to have the knots on the non-animal side of the post. They look like they would leave a mark if someone hit them wrong.

    • Greg Judy says:

      I would recommend getting a good guardian dog and you don’t need to worry about predators. We have predators all over our farms, but we never lose an animal to them. You can sleep well at night when you have dog power.

      Woven wire fence is great fence, one little problem with it. You might go broke trying to fence your entire farm with it.

      If you have a tree fall on a woven wire fence, it is a major job to re-stretch the fence to where it is tight again after cutting the tree off the fence. With hi-tensile, you cut off the tree and your done. Hi-tensile fence just springs right back up to its former position.

      It takes a very good charger to make animals respect a hot wire fence. Stafix and Cyclops are the two of the best out there.

      Use plenty of ground rods on the north side of a building or installed around a pond. Good ground rod clamps must be used. 90% of fencing issues are tied to improper grounding on the charger.

      We have 16 farms and every single one of them are holding animals just fine with hi-tensile wire using our fiberglass line and corner posts. Our farms are very hilly and it is quite easy to keep wire tight when you use good products and strong corners.

      Our best resource for quality fencing products is Powerflex Fence Company.

      It does not matter if you lease the farm or own it, you need to keep your animals on your farm. Hi-tensile fencing will do a great job for you at an economical price if it is installed correctly.

  2. henry marszalek says:

    I would like to know more about the fibreglass posts. Here in Australia we use wood, steel or concrete posts and I’ve never heard of fibreglass farm fence posts. Any info will be helpful. Thanks

  3. Bill Fosher says:

    What do you use for corners and end braces on those 5-wire fences?

  4. Joshua H says:

    What kind of paint works best on the fiberglass?

    • Greg Judy says:

      We use X/O Rustoleum enamel paint. On corner posts we wait until they are driven in the ground before painting them. This prevents you from scuffing off the paint during the installation process. If you use acetone to clean the post before painting, we have posts in the field with 20 years of use and paint is still holding tight. You can use a 4″ brush or they sell the enamel paint in spray cans.

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