Electric fence how to?

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CowboyRam

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Hi tensile fence is absolutely the best fence. I use it for parameter and single polywire for divisions. But, Richmn is NOT looking to put a permanent fence.
Two strand polywire with a HOT fencer will work fine - after you teach them what a polywire is. I would NOT rely on the charger this neighbor has without checking it's power.
JFYI - there are fence testers that tell you which way your short is located - and how severe it is. If you pass the spot, it lets you know. I wouldn't have electric fence without it (on permanent electric fence like I have).
Now, I will ask others to jump in on the issue of grazing dormant alfalfa. When I hear grazing alfalfa, it scares the poop out of me - one year we were managing a herd for another farm. Their pastures were newly fenced from old hay fields. One day I walked out to check the herd after turning them into "mostly grass with a little bit of alfalfa". I had 1 dead, 1 dieing and the rest of the herd bloated. I learned to be VERY cautious with alfalfa.
We also put our cows on bloat blocks for at least three days before we put them out on the alfalfa, I like to have them on it for a week if I can. We have never lost a cow due to bloat. It is pretty important to get them on the bloat blocks before turning them out.
 
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Richnm

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Grazing
Hi tensile fence is absolutely the best fence. I use it for parameter and single polywire for divisions. But, Richmn is NOT looking to put a permanent fence.
Two strand polywire with a HOT fencer will work fine - after you teach them what a polywire is. I would NOT rely on the charger this neighbor has without checking it's power.
JFYI - there are fence testers that tell you which way your short is located - and how severe it is. If you pass the spot, it lets you know. I wouldn't have electric fence without it (on permanent electric fence like I have).
Now, I will ask others to jump in on the issue of grazing dormant alfalfa. When I hear grazing alfalfa, it scares the poop out of me - one year we were managing a herd for another farm. Their pastures were newly fenced from old hay fields. One day I walked out to check the herd after turning them into "mostly grass with a little bit of alfalfa". I had 1 dead, 1 dieing and the rest of the herd bloated. I learned to be VERY cautious with alfalfa.
Grazing dormant alfalfa out here is very common. A few days after a hard freeze and everyone turns them out. We have been doing it without bloat blocks forever. My alfalfa is about ankle tall and dormant. My neighbor is grazing bulls in knee high alfalfa and they are still alive. He is crazy
 

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Lucky_P

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Entire farm here is fenced with electrified HT - but it was always a psychological barrier, more so than a physical one. Other than the bullpen, which was 4 electrified strands, almost everything else is 2 strands - even the perimeter fence - at 18" and 30" - and on most of the place, because it's mostly flat - t-posts every 100 ft; Redcedar or utility pole posts at ends/corners, major changes in direction.
I could step on it and drive an ATV or tractor over it just about anywhere. Probably would not meet the qualifications for a 'permanent' fence on a busy highway... but the cows almost never 'got out'... but they would 'let themselves forward' into the next paddock, if voltage dropped too low. If they'd wanted out, there was little to keep them in...other than electricity.
Hooved rats (whitetail deer) were The Worst! back in the day when we were still doing movable polywire/step-in post cross-fences.
 

Son of Butch

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My neighbor has 40 acres of dormant alfalfa. The property has a partial barb wire fence.
He has an electric fence that He is willing to put up.
How effective are electric fences ?
Do I need to train the cows prior ? Thanks
Sounds like you have a great neighbor.
Electric fences are very effective. The more strands the better, but for temporary grazing 2 is fine. Cows are seldom a problem, it's the calves.

Often they accidently get out. ie They lie down near the fence and somehow get up on the wrong side. Having 2 strand with 1 low helps prevent it.
When training calves, I've slipped pop/beer cans on one wire as a visual reminder of the boundary and calves being curious will sniff/lick the can and quickly learn what an electric fence means. The problem with 1 or 2 strand fence is calves and deer often don't see the wire and accidently run straight through it.
 
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Muletrack

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Here's what some experts are saying about grazing alfalfa -- that you lose far more money in not taking advantage in using this resource than you in death loss.
 

RDFF

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I'm adaptive grazing 150 head of custom and another 85 head of my own cattle. All electric 3 wire HT for perimeter, single wire HT for subdivision, and single strand of polywire for breaks. Cattle are very well controlled by the electric fence... however, with maybe 20 miles of fenceline, my 15 joule fencer was limited when "wet conditions" with tall pastures existed... and I had some issues with animals getting through/under the single wire fence at times, mostly calves. Was down to about 1500V in those conditions. Upgraded to a Gallagher 5800i, and I'm carrying upwards of 6000V, even when running over 100 amps of draw on the fence... which I wouldn't have believed would be the case JUST from wet vegetation, but it definitely is! Point here is, use a big charger, and a lot of your issues will be eliminated (assuming you've got a decent fence to start with... good insulators, no opportunity for "grounding", etc...... I use ALL fiberglass posts, for ends and line posts, HATE, HATE, HATE T posts, and refuse to put in another one!). Set a gate on the ground and watch it light up and hear it snap, and you'll gain a whole lot of respect for it, just like the cows do. Touch it once and get knocked to the ground, and it'll be the last time you ever want to touch it hot... and it will be for the cows too.

Biggest thing I've learned is that the cattle generally won't go OVER the wire, but they will go under it, if given the opportunity. Calves in particular will learn pretty quickly how to duck their backs under the wire. Cows can be controlled pretty easily with a single wire literally at their knees... no kidding... and calves won't go under it when it's low enough. I used to be in dairy with some tall Holstiens, and was taught by my Dad to build a single wire fence up at about crotch height (and I'm 6'3"). They never bothered it, even along a corn field (they were fed silage at home along with the pasture though). That's way too high for beef cattle, and especially with calves. I now put a singe wire (poly or HT), at about 26", and my 3 wire fences are at about 17", 27" and 37". I would never trust a single wire for cattle now along a corn field... I expect part of their contentment was because they were being fed at home at each milking before being turned out onto the pasture. I'd keep that corn AT LEAST the cows neck and head length away from the fence too.... don't want to be tempting them.

I graze some really lush stuff through the growing season, lots of clover and alfalfa, all year long. Did lose one calf to bloat on some really lush clover new seeding (almost pure clover in the stand, as the grasses are slower to develop to heavy tonnage), even after they'd been on it for a week, but I'm confident that was because it was on a night when it was raining all night... just too much wet in the gut. Biggest thing is to get them used to it and then don't switch them off. Hard to account for that "rain all night long" though, when it's been dry otherwise, so it'd be best to graze supplement or them with some dryer stuff or bales, along with that lush stuff, when those conditions are expected. Didn't use any bloat blocks or additives... just managed them into it slowly enough to let them adapt before leaving them there full time.

On DORMANT alfalfa, you shouldn't have to worry at all, IMO. It's already browned out and has plenty of dry matter so that they can handle it just fine. It's the really high moisture in the gut, along with that really high protein, that gets 'em. Just not enough dry matter to prevent the gas from building and the gut from frothing.
 

CowboyRam

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Lots of irrigated alfalfa in Wyoming. Most wait until a hard frost and winter cows on it. Excellent winter pasture.
That is what we do here in Riverton. Although there have been times we had to put the cow out on the field before a hard freeze. Getting the cows on bloat blocks are good insurance before letting out on the hay field. We have never lost a cow because of bloat since dad bought the farm in 2006.
 

BlondeD

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I'm grazing 12" alfalfa/orchardgrass/novel fescue now in West Tennessee. I'm using 1/2" wide polytape on step-in posts....(Gallagher is ok.....Herdsman brand very strong) The tape flutters in a light breeze for better visibility and with a hot solo charger, I limit graze about a 10' strip.......and they take the slightly browned alfalfa down quickly. I generally only let them into the area after noon.......any dew or moisture dried off. They have access to hay but going at that slowly. I'll hopefully make it another 3 weeks......into 2022....before they finish this block.
 

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