As we’re heading into grazing season, fence chargers are on our minds. So, here’s Greg Judy with a video on fence chargers and how he chooses them, and how he makes sure he’s got good ground going to them.
I’ve added a slightly edited transcript below, for those who prefer to read instead of watch. And I’ve included some definitions and other information to give you just a bit more background. Enjoy!
Good morning, folks! This is Greg Judy at Green Pastures Farm.
This morning we’re going to be talking a little bit about chargers. I get this a lot: “What kind of charger do you use? And how big a charger?” and all of that.
This one is the Stafix. This is an N36. One thing you want to remember on chargers is the joules. Look at the joules. This one has 54 joules stored energy and 36 output. That means it has a horsepower of 36 joules onto your fence. This is one heck of a charger. They say this one will power up 2500 acres. We don’t have that many acres underneath one charger. But we do have a lot of pressure on our fence.
Folks, everybody says, “Ah we tried that electric fence. It didn’t work. It shorted out.”
You didn’t have the right charger. Probably had some steel post in your fencing. Eliminate the steel posts. Do not have steel posts in your fencing system because every steel post is a potential ground rod. Just remember that.
Go with high voltage, low impedence chargers.
How big do you want to get?
If you’re going to be running sheep fence or netting for your chickens, or pigs – pigs root dirt up onto your fence and that’s going to put some pressure on your fence – or if you’re running 5 or 6 wires out here through the brush and a lot of grass and brush grows up on that, you need a pretty good size chargers.
Now if you had only 40 acres, don’t go buy this Stafix charger for 40 acres. It’s too big. You need something like a 10 joule or something.
I will say this. When you get a long rainy period and you get a lot of rain and you’ve got vegetation touching your fence, that’s when it tests the horsepower of your fence.
To manage vegetation touching your fence, never shut your fence off.
I made that mistake early on. I had these shut off switches all around my farm and as the cattle moved through the farm, I’d shut that switch off, so I could put all the power forward onto the what the cattle were on. Don’t do that. It’s the worst thing in the world to do, because now, what you’ve done, you’ve taken the voltage off that section of fence, you’re not going to be back for 30 to 60 days and all that vegetation grows up on your fence. It’s not getting shocked. The sap is touching the wire. It’s not getting shocked so that sap just grows up and that’s what pulls your voltage down. It’s the sap in the vegetation. Getting shocked constantly every 100,000ths of a second, it dries up the sap in the vegetation touching it. It will actually kill a multiflora rose bush that grows up on our fence.
We’ll go through our fence maybe once every three years. You don’t have to go out there every year and cut the brush off it. You don’t have to do that. We don’t do that. We’ve got 16 farms and we try to keep the trees off it, maybe every 2 or three years we’ll go out and clear that stuff back. But it’s not an every day or every week deal. If you have the right chargers.
Now when we’re talking about chargers…I love the Stafix. That’s number one and I’ll tell you why. It’s got a remote control on and you reach out and touch the fence and it shuts it off.
Ground rods are very important
Any time you talk about chargers, this is kind of over-kill but this is what I’ve got on mine – this is a 7 foot, one inch steel galvanized rod. Folks on the big chargers like this you need a minimum of six and I’ve got 10 to 12 on mine. If you have a problem with your charger and it’s not shocking your animals, look at this – look at your grounds. Make sure your clamps are all tight. Make sure that your wire’s not broken going from one ground to the next. And I use galvanized, high-tensile wire to carry it from one to the next.
When you drop this in the ground, you want to put it somewhere where you’re not going to be mowing over it because you want to leave a couple inches sticking out. That’s where you put your ground rod clamps. Get you a good galvanized ground rod clamp. Don’t put copper to galvanized. You put a copper clamp or vice versa – a copper ground rod and a galvanized clamp – you get corrosion at the interface. It’s not good.
So ground rods, put in enough of them and put them in on the north side of your building where it’s shaded that way it’s going to stay damp, or underneath a gutter, where the gutter’s coming out you’ve got water, or in a low spot around a pond. You got a sewer or a lagoon, you drive these in around that, you’re going to have a good ground, even in a drought. That’s when you get into trouble. When it’s droughty, it doesn’t hurt and you’ve been in a 3 month drought, go out and water your ground rod, make sure these things stay moist.
A Made in the USA Charger
Now I’m going to talk about the Cyclops. The Cyclops charger, I love Cyclops. They’re a good charger. The one thing I don’t like about he Cyclops is it doesn’t have the remote switch on it so I can’t walk out to the fence and go “Off” and it turns it off. The Stafix you can do that with the larger models. Now the smaller joule models with the Stafix it doesn’t have that option. But I think starting with 12 joules and on up you can do that.
The Stafix is available through Powerflex. Cyclops, I get these from my friend – and you may have a dealer. These are actually made in the good old U.S.A. This is a heck of a charger. The good thing about the Cyclops is it’s about 30% cheaper than the Stafix. This one here is about the same size charger. This is a 36 joule too. The stafix cost $1300. The Cyclops cost about $880.
“That’s a lot of money Greg!” Yeah, it is, but so is an animal that gets hit on the highway because your fence didn’t keep it in.
You touch one of these you’ll feel it and remember it for a long time. You’ll get really careful about not wanting to touch it!
So with that, I’m going to stop. Everyone have a great day!
Greg has been putting together the equivalent of his own television channel on Youtube with all kinds of great information to help folks be successful graziers. You can visit his channel here. And you can learn more about his farm at his website here.