As with many other situations in life, the saying that „one man`s joy is another man`s sorrow“ is also true when it comes to the weather. Especially for farmers and livestock owners, the summer can be a rather difficult season. The weather conditions are becoming increasingly challenging also in Germany, where drought or heavy rainfall, increasing pest infestation and crop failures occur more and more often.
Weather conditions like these are also a challenge with regard to the use of electric fences. In the following, we will give you a few tips to help you get your fence through the hot summer without severe problems.
Optimization of Grounding
Moist soil conducts electricity much better than dry soil! If it does not rain for a few weeks or there is too little precipitation in the summer, the grounding of the electric fence can be impaired by the dry soil — and therefore the fence`s performance. This, in turn, affects the guarding security. Therefore, it is advisable to check the grounding of the fence daily in the summer months.
You can optimize the grounding during the construction of the fence, by placing several earth rods at a distance of 3m as deep as possible into the ground in a moist, shaded spot. For dry soil, it is best to increase the number of earth rods in order to ensure better conduction.
If the grounding is still not sufficient in the summer, try to strike the grounding rods even deeper or add an additional rod.
Removing Vegetation along the Fence
A further reason for loss of voltage in the fence may be bushes or grass in touch with the conductor material. This results in a discharge of the current into the soil so that the performance of the electric fence is reduced. Check your electric fence every day for such discharges and see if there is the prescribed minimum load voltage of approx. 2,500 volts at each point of the fence system.
Fence Protection against Summer Thunderstorms
Electrical fencing fences are excellent lightning conductors due to the grounding, which is why lightning strikes often enough. Due to the excessive voltage of a lightning strike, the fence energizer can become so badly damaged that it can not be repaired and must be replaced.
To avoid this, install a lightning protection between the fence and the fence energizer, which diverts a lightning strike into the earth. In most cases, the lightning protection is also destroyed after an impact and must be replaced.
It is best to disconnect the fence energizer from the fence during heavy thunderstorms.
After a storm, check your pasture fence for any damage caused by fallen branches. They can either touch the fence and reduce the voltage (as vegetation, see above) or they can actually damage the fence. In this case you have to repair your fence system, e.g. replace the broken insulators and reconnect the conductor material.
Solar Fence Energizers — Using the Power of the Sun
Even if the heat and drought of the summer months entail some challenges, you can make use of a decisive advantage: solar power!
There are both devices with integrated solar module as well as devices which can be supported later with a solar module. It is important to know that a separate solar module must always be connected directly to the 12 V battery. Exception: At AKO there is also a 4 watt solar module, which can be connected directly to a 9 volt dry battery. Solar modules support the batteries so that you do not have to replace the 9 Volt dry battery as frequently or recharge the 12 Volt battery as often.
In the sunny time of the year, the solar support is a long term, worthwhile investment.The most common are 12 volt rechargeable battery generators with a 25 or 45 watt solar module.
Attaching Warning Signs to the Electric Fence
The number of people walking along pasture fences increases dramatically in the summer months. Therefore, pay particular attention to the observance of the prescribed warning signs on electric fences. According to the European regulation DIN EN 60335-2-76, signs with the words “caution electric fence” or safety symbols are to be installed on electric fences erected on public roads or paths. These must be installed at regular intervals, as well as at junctions of secondary roads, and at places where no electric fence is suspected. The size of the warning sign must be at least 100 x 200 mm. Sample copies can be found here.