10 safety tips for installing electric fences

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Last week, we chose the type of fencing and material best suited to your farming needs. This week, we have safety guidelines for those of you that selected electric fencing.

10 safety tips for installing electric fences

1. Connect only one energizer to a fence.
2. Under unusual fault conditions, electric fences can produce sparks, so keep fences away from combustible materials. When droughts and other conditions create a high risk of wildfires, operate energizers on low power if they are equipped with that option, or turn energizers off.
3. Grounds for energizers should be at least 65 feet from utility grounding fields.
4. Avoid running fences parallel to power lines, and try to install fences so that they cross power lines at right angles.
If you can’t avoid parallel electric fences and power lines, offset the fences at least 30 feet from the power lines, and make sure the top fence wires are no more than 6 feet high.
5. Do not attach fence wires to utility poles.
6. Landowners are responsible for preventing audible interference with telephone lines. Avoid installing electric fences under telephone wires, and minimize the distance that electric fence wires run parallel to underground telephone cables.
7. Keep electric fences as far away from radio antennas as possible.
8. Don’t touch fences with your head or mouth. People with pacemakers or other heart problems also should consult their doctors before working with or near electric fences. No humans or animals have died from electric, grazing-system fences without becoming entangled in them, however, some precautions are necessary.
9. Never use barbed wire for electric fence wire because people or animals could more easily become entangled in it.
10. Post warning signs at least every 300 feet where the public has access to electric fences, such as along roads.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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1 COMMENT

  1. My uncle was just telling me yesterday that he is wanting to install an electric fence for his property. I like how you mentioned not using barbed wire for electric fences since animals could be entangled in it. He should make sure he only uses one energizer so it’s not dangerous.

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