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Cattle fencing for winter
In the Cattle Talk discussion group, jeff has had trouble with his electric fence during the winter months. He looks to others for insight on how to ward off problems this season.
Posted by jeff: When snow covers one of my cattle lots, I have problems getting a good spark on the fence. I have it grounded with a steel rod, but the cattle still walk right through it. Any suggestions on how to keep them fenced in?
Not much you can do
Posted by jerry/mt: In really cold weather with dry snow, the ground doesn't conduct very well, which means the return circuit is basically an open circuit. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do if your ground rods meet the requirements specified by the charger manufacturer.
Problems with setup
Posted by nwobcw: I've never had cattle walk through an electric fence in the winter, just in the summer. If your ground is dry, it can lead to poor soil-to-ground-rod conductivity, so I pour hot water around the ground rods.
There is a big difference in output among the various brands, but I do see several problems with your setup.
Use a copper or aluminum rod, so you have good contact between the wire and rod. Put a rod as close to the charger as possible. My first rod is in the barn directly under the charger hanging on an inside wall. Use multiple ground rods. I have four (counting the one inside) spaced about 20 feet apart starting at the beginning of the fence.
An electric fence is one of those things that directions must be followed to the letter. If you don't own one, buy a voltage meter. It is money well spent.