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Discussion Starter #1
Our electric fencer has lots of spark right at the box, and it HAD lots of spark all around the mile perimeter earlier this summer. Now, it doenst hardly spark at all. Cattle are pushing against the fence, and not getting shocked. We thought the drought conditions are causing the cattle, and the fence posts to not get a good ground, and therefore not conduct the electricity comming from the fence.

other farmers in the area are having similar problems.


Does anyone have any insight on this?
 

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I run a ground wire along with the hot wires on our electric high tensile fence, and always have good spark regardless of how dry it is....the ground wire effectively ties your entire fence together and makes it one huge ground rod...if you are using t posts anyhow.

Even if you aren't, if you alternate ground and hot wires, when the cattle push against the fence they will hit both hot and ground wires and get a big zap that way.
 

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Just came in from fiddling with my fence. Dry as a bone here and virtually no performance out of the fence. My plan is to add ground wire(s) as Hammer4 suggests. When I can afford it that is.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
ok, so dry conditions do make a difference.

Dad watered the ground rod at the fencer power box a couple days ago. IT seemed to help, but it did not fully restore the performance.


My theory is that the dirt is so dry that the cows just aren't getting grounded enough to get shocked
 

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When the cattle stand on bone dry ground, they don't make a very good connection. Therefore they don't get shocked. The ground wire in the fence is the best cure for it. Alternate hot and ground wires so that they touch one of each and they'll get the full shock regardless of soil conditions.

There's a tester called a "fence compass". I can't remember the brand. It's excellent for directing you to problems along your fence line. If you have high voltage at the charger, but low voltage elsewhere, you probably have a leak along the way. When your fence is working perfectly, it will read the same all around.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
Church Road, VA
 

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You could get some of the thin electric twine to use as your ground wire, it's cheaper than most wire and easy to put up. I second the suggestion of a fence tester, those are handy dandy tools, you'll know exactly what your fence is putting out and it'll help you locate bad areas before the fence looses enough charge that your cattle get out.
 

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My theory is that the dirt is so dry that the cows just aren't getting grounded enough to get shocked
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Your theory is correct. The best answer is as others stated: run another wire that is grounded well. That way if a cow touches both wires, the get a shock. We have this trouble a lot this time of year. About the only easy solution is for a good rain .
 

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Hooves are non conductive. (only the hard outer surface is non-conductive.) When it's dry, the cattle are protected by there "shoes". A ground wire shouldn't help unless the animal touches both wires at the same time.
 

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Max, I would just like to point out that Tennessee is experiencing the worst drought in the states history. Statewide all framers are eligible for aide. I run electric fence 24/7 with 4 grounding rods all near the charger. I run no separate grounding wires the length of my fencing (20 acres). My steers and goats are graduating from electricity 101 with straight "A"'s. My soil has been dust most of the spring/summer. I would look into other tests to find out your where the problem is. Running a separate grounding wire will only be helpful if you periodically pound in more rods, lets say every 200 yards. Then the electrical current needs to only travel from their noses to hooves and off to the nearest grounding rod down the wire back to the barn. This really is not necessary, but would be helpful. Like Francsismilker mentioned just running a separate ground wire does little unless the animal touches both at once. Troubleshoot your charger first and then move outward. One more thing, pouring water onto the grounding rods does nothing more than waste water. Spend $10.00 on a fence tester/charger tester if you haven't already.
 

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topside1 said:
One more thing, pouring water onto the grounding rods does nothing more than waste water. Spend $10.00 on a fence tester/charger tester if you haven't already.
Wondering why you think that since we are instructed to place our grounding rods where the soil stays moister like under the eaves of buildings? It was my understanding that having the grounding rods in moist soil was to help produce a stronger charge. I run alternating +/- wires, have a meter which gives a reading rather than just lights and definitely saw an increase in the charge on the + wires after getting the soil down & around the grounding rods moister; from 5.5 to 6+ Kv. Was told by JOhnny O at Kencove that I should also see an improvement by putting grounding rods at the furthest most point from the charger. I am keeping sheep and Nigerian goats in ( so far!) and I notice that they seem to be able to hear or sense the strength of the charge - if the fence is 5 kv or less they'll challenge but up around 6 they won't. So it seems worth the little bit of effort to keep the rod area moister. If watering isn't making a difference what do you think is?
 

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With the alternating +/- wires the ground rod is not as important as when running just + wires. The alternating wires should give as good a jolt as possible with the charger you have.
 

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Liese, I also have all my rods installed below eaves/roof run-off. I only meant if your pasture is nearly moisture free, then the dirts conductibility is minimal. Adding moisture maybe helpful in a small paddock settings, under an acre, but I doubt would make a great deal of difference if your running five-six strands of live wire around a 20 acre pasture. I’ve tried to raise my voltage by adding water to the rods, it made little or no effect at all, but consider at the time my pastures hadn’t had any rain in six weeks. What may work in your area may not in mine?
 

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Thanks Pancho & TJ, am always glad to get a better understanding of electric fencing! Now Max's issue was keeping the cattle in but what if the objective of the fence is also to keep predators out? In these dry conditions what, if anything can be done to improve conductivity, if add'l rods aren't really going to do it?
 

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Liese said:
Thanks Pancho & TJ, am always glad to get a better understanding of electric fencing! Now Max's issue was keeping the cattle in but what if the objective of the fence is also to keep predators out? In these dry conditions what, if anything can be done to improve conductivity, if add'l rods aren't really going to do it?
It works the same from either side. The shock is the same no matter what direction you are going.
 

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In post # 10 I mentioned adding additional rods every 200 yards and a dedicated ground wire running from the additional rods and back to your main grounding rods back at the barn. That will make an incredible difference in wet or dry field situations. The last time I had low voltage symptom I blamed it on everything except the charger (drought, grounding rods, to many weeds conducting, you name it). Well it turned out to be my charger was throwing weak voltage....go figure. When troubleshooting I now start with the chargers output and then start check things down the line....Love electric, providing you have the right system installed....

I'm running the Parmak Energizer 4
http://www.parmakusa.com/Fencers/110.htm
 
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