As the winter months approach, we begin to unpack our Carhartt clothing and the horse blankets. We often think about keeping things warm: ourselves, the barn, and our animals. How often do you think about keeping the fence warm by keeping the electricity flowing? Maintaining and preparing the fence for winter is a vital part of upkeep on the fence line.

Electric fences depend on a full circuit: The animal touches the fence, sends the electricity into the ground and at the end of the fence line the ground bed pulls electrons from the soil and pushes them back into the fence. The important step here is the cow is grounded when the fence is touched. There are many places that become vulnerable once the snow has hit the ground.

High tensile wire is the product of high carbon steel with a carbon content of .28%. Other wire fencing is made of low carbon steel with a maximum of 10% carbon content. The higher the carbon content, the stronger the wire. Due to the class 3-zinc coating on our high tensile wire, our wire has a life expectancy of 30-40 years.”The higher the class, the longer it will last” is our saying here at Powerfields.






  • Is high tensile difficult to install?

    • High tensile wire is easy to install and requires little maintenance. There is no need for pre-stretching of the wire, just put it on the posts and pull it tight. High tensile wire can be installed on fewer post than low carbon wire. The fence will remain tight, and even spring back into place after being hit with a brute force. High tensile fence is commonly used along busy highways to protect the valuable livestock. This fence has the ability to stop a car skidding towards the fence without breaking the strands.


  • How much maintenance is required with high tensile fence?

    • With proper brace assemblies and installation, sagging is virtually eliminated. Heavy snows, ice, or severe temperature changes have very little effect on the life of your fence, therefore reducing the maintenance time and eliminating the need to restretch fence.

    • It is still important to have regular inspection on the fence to prevent problems. Be sure to keep the fence free of weeds and underbrush, as well as clearing any fallen limbs or branches off the fence. Never burn weeds along the fence line as they cause damage to the wire and posts. It is recommended to mow or use herbicides in these areas.

    • If the fence is built in an area with harsh winters, the tension on the fence can be reduced when severe cold weather hits and retighten the fence in the spring. Never tension over 250 pounds!Brad farm hightensile 2


  • Is high tensile hard to splice?

    • High tensile can be very easily spliced despite the stiffness of the wire. Crimp sleeves are used to connect wires and maintain the integrity of the wire strength.  


  • What is the breaking strength?

    • A common rule of thumb is the higher the gauge number, the lower the breaking strength. For example, 14 gauge class 3 has a breaking strength of 630 pounds, but a 12 ½ gauge class 3 wire has a breaking strength of 1345 pounds.

    • Breaking strength can be calculated on any gauge of high tensile wire using the diameter. A common misunderstanding is is PSI and KSI. These two are simply a conversion of one another.

PSI = pound per square inch

KSI = Kilo-pound per square inch = 1000 PSI



calculatorExample: 12 ½ gauge wire with 210,000 PSI


Area = (12 x diameter)2 x

Minimum Breaking Strength = Area x PSI

Area=(12 x 0.099")2 x 3.14 = 0.0077"2

Minimum Breaking Strength = 0.0077"2 x 210,000PSI = 1617 pounds

Bears have a very big sweet tooth and quickly cause devastation to a well-earned apiary. They are very smart animals with a long memory of a good meal. These traits require the need for a psychological barrier to block bears from devastating the bees, hives, honey, and your hard-earned efforts and money. The use of an electric fence will serve its purpose to protect your efforts for many years when properly constructed and maintained.

IMG 1796The type of fence can depend widely on the species, surrounding conditions, predator threats, and sometimes the individual animal. As discussed in a previous blog, there are physical and physiological fence barriers.


RUNNING HORSEHorses tend to need more of a psychological barrier. They are typically visual learners and have a tendency to test their boundaries.

It is important to have visual aids when using thin fence types (such as tapes or braids) or fence colors that may blend in with the background such as a brown fence on a wooded background. Some common visual aids include fence flags or fence tape hanging on the fence line. These will help the horse to see the fence line from a distance and allow adequate stopping time if the horse is at a gallop towards the fence line.

Electrified polytapes, ropes, and twines are common fence types for confining horses. These types can be quickly strung on posts with light tension and electrified using a fence energizer. The proper size energizer will depend on the length of fence you will be running.

Other options for horses include horse rail (non-electrified or electrified) or coated high tensile wire. These types can also be hooked up to a fence energizer, or can stand alone with enough strands. However, if the fence is not electrified, it needs to be tensioned to prevent the horse from pushing it to get to the greener grass on the other side.

3 Strand White Fence


Dairy CowsTraditionally, cattle have been fenced with barbed wire but in today’s industry the most common cattle fence is high tensile wire with treated wood posts. This type of fence would be a physical and/or psychological barrier. Cattle need a strong fence or one that is mentally intimidating. If you want to create strictly a physical barrier, you will need to use at least 8 strands of high tensile with post spacing every 16’ and at least one dropper in between. If you want to create a psychological cattle fence,, you will use 4-6 strands of wire with post spacing every 20-40’ depending on the terrain, and electrify with a properly sized energizer. (At least one joule per mile).

A woven wire fence will contain cattle as a physical barrier, but is more costly than a high tensile fence. Other options for a physical barrier for cattle would include a wood panel fence or heavy wire panels. These type of fences increase the labor and require far more maintenance than high tensile fence.

 Sheep and Goats

Two of the most important factors to consider with sheep and goats is their creative nature and predator threats. The most used fencing is a woven wire fence with 2”x4” wire spacing configuration. This will decrease the climbing capability of the animal and be the more effective at confining goats and sheep. This wire also decreases the risk of animal getting their head through the fence and not being able to pull it back through due to horns. The fence height should be at least 39” inches for these species. Physical barriers are usually the best for sheep and goats, but they can also be combined with a psychological barrier by using a 6” offset on the fence to set an electrified strand of high tensile wire off the woven wire. This is prevent the animal from being able to push on or go under the fence.

As mentioned, the other consideration is predators. Woven wire is effective in protecting sheep and goats from coyotes and other predators because they cannot squeeze through the wire spacing. If the threat is high, barbed wire or high tensile can be placed on the outside of the fence near the ground and along the top of the poles

goats woven wire


pig2The biggest concern with swine fencing is rooting. The most recommended fencing for swine is woven wire with a strand of electrified wire near the ground. The woven wire is sufficient to keep the animal confined and the electrified wire deters the animal from rooting underneath the wire. Pigs can also be contained with one or two strands of electrified wire, tape, or twine that is properly energized. Pigs are sensitive and will quickly become aware of the slightest shock. Pigs are often contained using electric fence when grazing or around sow lots.

Sheep in Electric NettingA fence can act as two kinds of barriers: a physical barrier and a psychological barrier.