From the February 2016 issue of Drovers.

Whether you’re looking for a permanent fencing solution or want something portable for your grazing system, there are many cost and management benefits to utilizing electric fence.

Build it right, and electric fence can save you a lot of money and labor. Do it wrong, and you can have a continuous mess on your hands. Here to weigh in on the subject are Jim Gerrish, grazing and fencing consultant for American Grazing Lands Services LLC in east-central Idaho, and Steve Freeman, a cow–calf producer and fencing equipment veteran from western Missouri.

In the last section, we discussed how to choose an energizer. For part two, we will be covering the importance of a proper grounding system.

Step two: Set up a grounding system

According to both Gerrish and Freeman, the No. 1 failure in the installment of an electric fence system is not properly grounding the energizer.

“If you want to get the most out of your charger, then you must install a grounding system—and install it right,” Freeman says.

The first rule to installing a grounding system is to locate it in a damp area since moisture contact conducts electricity more efficiently.  And just as importantly, proper materials need to be used.

“A lot of people think you can wrap rusty wire around a steel post and stick it in the ground,” Gerrish adds. “But that’s not going to work well.”

Galvanized ground rods and galvanized wire work best, and need to be set 3' of rod in the ground per joule, spaced out 10' apart and all hooked together by the galvanized wire. If producers live in a more arid climate, they should hook the ground rods to a second fence-line wire, turning it into the ground wire for more efficient power.

To read the full Electric fence roundup from the February 2016 issue of Drovers, click here.