Electric Fencing: When You Need a Fence Fast and Cheap

Imagine owning a herd of bison and suddenly learning they would have to be moved to a new piece of land. You buy the land, but then what? You have to build fencing to keep the bison in. That’s just what restaurant owner Connie Hale experienced earlier this year.

Hale keeps a herd of bison but due to a change in rent, she quickly had to buy a new piece of land and move her animals. Being a busy business owner didn’t leave her any time to actually work on the land, so in jumped the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and the Virginia Tech Department of Agriculture.

They immediately went to work to build an electric fence covering a large enough area to contain the animals. Once that fence was done, they began working on the rest of the property.

Connie Hale’s story is not all that unique. Both large cattle ranchers and hobby owners can find themselves in a world of hurt if they need a new fencing solution quickly. Thank goodness for electric fencing. With the right supplies and a little bit of time, you can put up a good electric fence fairly quickly.

Benefits of Electric Fencing

Why would someone choose electric fencing over traditional barbed wire? Because electric fences are better. There’s just no two ways about it. Check out the following advantages of electric over its barbed wire cousin:

Speed – There is no question that you can put up an electric fence faster than a barbed wire fence. You do not need nearly as many posts, the posts don’t have to be driven in so deeply, and you’re not fumbling with cumbersome rolls of wire.

Expense – The costs of electrified fencing have come down quite a bit in recent years. Again, it comes down to the number of posts you need. Fewer posts means a lower overall cost. Electrified fencing rope is also cheaper than barbed wire.

Safety – Barbed wire is not necessarily the safest for ranch animals. Barbed wire is sharp and painful to make contact with. By comparison, electrified fencing is very safe. Any animal touching an electrified fence receives a minor but very effective shock.

Maintenance – Electric fences are a lot easier to maintain. You can easily change out sections of damaged wire with very little effort. And as long as you make sure your energizers are kept in good working order, you will not have to worry about the effectiveness of your fence.

 

Electric Fencing can be Customized

Another great benefit of electrified fencing is that it is easily customized. Take the case of Norm and Donna Ward of Alberta, Canada for example. The two veteran ranchers own quite a bit of land in Canada’s heartland on which they raise beef cattle.

Due to the Ward’s philosophy of sustainable ranching practices, they are constantly rotating their grazing fields. But rather than dividing up the ranch into a bunch of smaller parcels, Norm decided it was better to come up with a customized fencing solution that allowed him to move his fences as needed.

He came up with the prefect tool by building a specialized trailer for carrying his posts and fencing wire. The trailer is pulled with a tractor or truck, reeling out the fence as he goes. He says he can fence an entire quarter section in less than 3 hours.

Electrified fencing is fast, cheap, and extremely easy to deploy. It is the obvious choice regardless of the size of your land or the scope of your operation.

 


Bulkhead or Penalty Strap: You Make the Call

The common trailer bulkhead can be viewed as a multipurpose tool. A driver can use it as an anchor point for tarps or the starting point for installing a side kit. But at the end of the day, the primary purpose of the bulkhead is to prevent forward movement of cargo. For the flatbed trucker, it is either bulkhead or penalty strap.

We are not quite sure where the term ‘penalty strap’ comes from, but it does a good job of describing how some truck drivers feel about having to use extra tie-downs to prevent cargo from shifting forward. Extra tie-downs means extra work. To that end, a driver might feel that he or she is incurring some sort of penalty for choosing to not use a bulkhead.

There is no right or wrong choice here. It is a matter of driver preference. Knowing the finer points of both options gives drivers a clear understanding of what is best for them.

The Kinds of Loads Carried

Let’s face it, some loads are easier to secure with penalty straps than others. A load of brick stacked on wooden pallets does not need a whole lot of extra effort to prevent forward movement. Do a few calculations, grab an extra strap or two, and the driver is good to go. Not so with a load of rail.

Rail doesn’t benefit as much from gravity and friction as brick does. Therefore, preventing its forward movement is a little more complicated. The extra time and effort it takes to deploy penalty straps could easily be avoided with a bulkhead.

Doing the Math at Load

A good case for installing a bulkhead is to avoid having to do the math at loading time. For instance, check out these starting calculations:

A load of 5 feet or shorter and a weight of 1,100 pounds or less = 1 tiedown.
A load of 5 feet or shorter and a weight in excess of 1,100 pounds = 2 tie-downs.
A load between five and 10 feet, regardless of weight = 2 tie-downs.                                                    A load longer than 10 feet = 2 tie-downs with an additional tiedown for every 10 feet.

These numbers just tell the driver how many tie-downs to use. The driver also has to consider the working load limits of each strap. It is a lot easier just to install a bulkhead with a high enough rating to cover most of the loads the trucker will haul.

Straps and Chains Wear Out

One final consideration is that straps and chains wear out. It is conceivable that a trucker can use the correct number of tie-downs and properly account for working load limits and still be found in violation. That’s because inspectors can take straps and chains out of service if they observe what they believe to be unacceptable wear and tear.

Bulkheads are subject to wear and tear as well, but not nearly as much. Therefore, it stands to reason that taking penalty straps out of the equation in favor of a bulkhead reduces the chances of being found in violation. The fewer tie-downs in play, the fewer opportunities for wear and tear to cause problems.

We understand that there are very valid reasons for declining to use a bulkhead on a flatbed trailer. Yet, there are some very definite advantages to choosing a bulkhead over penalty straps. It’s really up to each driver to decide what’s best for him or her. Should you decide to go the bulkhead route, Mytee Products can get you squared away.