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Electric fence school

Types of fence wire

There are several types of wire available. Below are the some of the types commonly used for electric fences. Choose the one that suits your need.

 Galvanized, mild steel wire

This is the most common electric fence wire sold, and comes in 16, 14 and 12½ gauge sizes. 16 gauge is rather too light for permanent fences since it stretches too easily; it is excellent, though, for temporary installations such as strip-grazing applications.

 Barbed wire

Made of mild galvanized steel in a two-ply construction of 12½-gauge wire, it is used primarily for fencing in beef herds.

Barbed wire is NOT recommended for dairy herds because of the danger of torn udders.

 High-tensile wire

Although relatively new to North America, high-tensile wire has been highly successful in Australia and New Zealand for about 20 years. High-tensile wire offers the longest lasting material for fence wire, but tends to be somewhat expensive and requires more care during installation.

High-tensile wire has almost twice the breaking strength of two-strand barbed wire and can withstand 1,200 pounds of livestock pressure without losing its elasticity. To achieve this the wire is installed with an original tension of about 250 pounds, through the use of small wire-mounted winches and springs.

Another advantage of high-tensile wire is that posts may be located farther apart when on flat terrain, due to the lack of wire sag.

 Plastic fence line

There are two types of this brightly-coloured, twine-type fence line available.

Type 1

Type 1 uses stainless steel strands, usually three in number, which are woven into a polypropylene or similar cord. This style has very high resistance, especially at splices, thereby reducing the available shock.

Tests made under laboratory conditions on one make of this style of line revealed a resistance of over 100 times greater than that of an equal length of regular 14 gauge galvanized, mild steel wire. Carefully made splices had over 300 times the resistance of the same splice in the steel wire.

Type 2

Type 2, a Canadian innovation, contains 6 strands of a special aluminum alloy, especially suitable for outdoor use.

Type 2 has less than 1/100th of the resistance of type 1. Splices, if carefully made and pulled tight, are very acceptable both electrically and mechanically. The cord used in this line contains a core of fire-resistant fibreglass and is formulated for northern climates.