Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Ok, I'm starting to get into the gritty details of operating a farm - mainly, keeping my livestock where I want them, and keeping the predators out. With wolves, coyotes and bears, I'm going to need a pretty serious fence.

I was reading about 6 foot no-climb fences with 1 foot buried, and thought there's no way I'd be able to afford fencing even an acre, let alone a decent sized pasture. I was starting to get discouraged, when I read an article by Maple Ridge Sheep Farm on Keeping the Sheep In and the Varmints Out. The Doanes use an 8-strand electric fence for controlling their Shetlands, and the coyotes. The process they described sounded like it would definitely do its job, but the aluminum wire they used was thin enough to break in case an animal got tangled in it. While this was a nice idea, it also meant a number of repair jobs, adding to the expense. Unfortunately, the Doanes calculated that their electric fence cost about the same as a woven fence once all the repairs and manhours were factored in.

I was loosing hope in ever finding an affordable, effective fence, but I thought I might as well Google 'Electric Livestock Fence'. The first site to pop up was this:

Electrobraid Electric Horse Fence, Safe Livestock Fencing
ElectroBraid is a safe and secure electric horse fence invented out of love for horses. Fence in domestic animals - fence out predators.

Well, that sounded pretty darn close to what I was looking for, but what about the price and how long will it last without needing repars?

On the front page it stated "It is strong and durable and a fraction of the cost of other electric fencing systems"

Well, I liked the sound of that! I ended up reading the entire site and ordered a free video ;) But it took a while before I built up the courage to actually calculate the cost of fencing an acre of land. Thankfully, their site not only had a detailed price list, but also had a detailed instructions explaining exactly what you'll need to order. Oh, did I mention it's a Canadian company from Nova Scotia? (yay!) all prices are in Canadian dollars, however an American price list is also available on the site.

Here's what I came up with for:

about a square acre of land, 210'x210' = 840' perimeter
5' fence
8 strands of wire (4", 4", 4", 6", 8", 10", 10", 12")
one gate
2 end posts
four corner posts
28 line posts (every 30' due to heavy snowfall; areas without severe winter weather can go every 50')
Edit: I'm looking into the Geotek fiberglass posts. They are more expensive than wood posts would be, however, I will not need all the insulators, and screws. I'll add onto the following post with a detailed breakdown of the cost using Geotek's posts.

Edit: Ok, I took a look at Geotek's website. The pricing was a little tricky - a document with older prices was still on the site, so wasn't impressed when I found their Jan 2005 price list. Thankfully, while the price of accessories had gone up, the rods I was interested in were lower. The difference for my little acre paddock was only $26.20. The total in was $3020.60 US, 3518.75 CDN (plus shipping & duties/taxes) including absolutely everything I could think of. I changed my mind and decided to go for a 5 ft 8-strand fence (4, 4, 4, 6, 8, 10, 10, 12). I basically took the 6 foot fence with small animal control and lopped off the top foot. The smaller integers at the foot of the fence will not only keep rabbits and raccoons out, but also keep lambs, chickens, crias and piglets in.

ElectroBraid™ Reels:

1. Multiply the length of your fence __840__ by the number of strands you wish to use __8__ and divide by the length of reel you will be purchasing __1200__ = __5.6__. This is the number of reels you will need.

ELECTROBRAID™ 1200 ft Reel - (White) 6 x $239 = $1434 CDN

ElectroBraid™ Roller Insulators for End, Corner and Vertical Changes in Direction:

2. Add the number of Corner posts __4__ and the number of End posts __2__ and multiply by the number of strands __8__ = __48__.

3. Count the number of Line posts with vertical changes in direction (hills, gullies, etc) and multiply by the number of strands = __0?__.

4. Add these two numbers together __48__ + __0?__=__48?__. This is the number of ElectroBraid™ Roller Insulators you will require.

Webbing (Black) 50 Feet $9.25 CDN (not necessary with Geotek Fiberglass posts)
For corners, ends and trees

ElectroBraid™ Roller Insulators - Black 48?/12 x $7.85 = $31.40 CDN

ElectroBraid™ Line Post Insulators for End and Corner Brace Posts:
I'm not too sure why this is here if you're supposed to use Rollers...

5. Multiply the number of End posts ____ by the number of strands ____ =____.

6. Multiply the number of Corner posts ____ by the number of strands ____ and multiply by two =____.

7. Add these two numbers together ____+____=____. This is the of ElectroBraid™ Line Post Insulators you will require for End and Corner Brace Posts.

ElectroBraid™ Heavy Duty Line Post Insulators - Black /25 x $9.65 = $0 CDN
For heavy winter conditions
Not necessary with Geotek Fiberglass Posts

Line Post Insulators:
Not necessary with Geotek Fiberglass Posts

8. Your choice of Line Post - wood, T-Bar, Fiberglass or steel - dictates your choice of Line Post Insulator. Count the number of Line posts __24__ and multiply by the number of strands __8__ =__192__. This is the number of Line Post Insulators you will need for Line Posts.

Depending on the type of Line Posts you plan to use, these may be the same or a
different insulator from the Line Post Insulator you plan to order for your Brace Posts
(see above).

ElectroBraid™ Heavy Duty Line Post Insulators - Black 192/25 x $9.65 = $77.2 CDN
For heavy winter conditions
Not necessary with Geotek Fiberglass Posts

Copper Lead-Out Wire:

9. Add the widths of all your gates together __8__ and multiply by the number of strands __8__ =__64__+ (6' x number of strands)=__112__.

10. Measure the distance from your Energizer to the nearest point on the fence=__25__.

11. Measure the distance from your Energizer to where your ground rods will be located = __25__.

12. Add these numbers together = __162__ + 20' for the distance between ground rods = __182__. This is the length of Lead-Out wire you will need.

Copper Lead-Out Wire 182/250 x $46.50 = $46.50 CDN

Copper Split-Bolt Connectors:

Copper Split-Bolts are used to terminate a strand of Braid™, to splice two strands together and for electrical connections.

13. Count the number of End posts __2__ and multiply by the number of strands __8__ = __16__.

14. Count the number of fence lines that exceed the reel size you purchased, multiply by the number of strands and multiply by two = __12__. (I figure I have 6 reels that will need to be connected)

15. Add one Split-Bolt for each electrical connection = __8__. (This is for connecting the energizer (4) and the ground wires (4) to their respective strand, as well as for the ground wires every 1300' running along the fence to the cold wire (0))

16. Add these three numbers together = __36__. This is the number of Split-Bolts you need.

Copper Split Bolt Connectors with Cable Ties 36/10 x $19.95 = $79.80 CDN


Select the proper Energizer from the chart = ElectroBraid 2.5 Joule (for up to 3 miles) $145.00 CDN

Ground Rods:

You will require 3 ground rods plus 1 every 1300' (more for large fields or poor soil conditions) = __3__.

Copper Clad Ground Rod, Clamp, 2 Ferrules, 1 Cable Tie 3 x $17.50 = $52.50 CDN

Tensioning Kit:

You will need at least one ElectroBraid™ Tensioning Kit to tighten the Braid™ (two for paddocks greater than 1 acre) = __1__.

ElectroBraid Tension Kit 1 x $24.50 = $24.50 CDN

Digital Volt Meter - PW 1 x $64.50 = $64.50 CDN
Required to test your fence voltage

Stainless Steel Screws for attaching Rollers & Insulators
240 Insulators x 2 each = 480/50 x $10.00 = $100.00 CDN (non-fiberglass posts)

Webbing (Black) 50' 2 x $9.25 = $18.50 CDN (fiberglass posts)
for corners, ends and trees

ElectroBraid™ Spring Handle Gate Kit 1 x $16.95 = $16.95 CDN
Includes 1 Roller Insulator, Webbing, 2 copper Split Bolts, 1 Gate andle, 1 Activator Plate and SS Screws

Cut Off Switch - On/Off Switch 1 x $11.50 = $11.50 CDN

Surge Protector 1 x $9.75 = $9.75 CDN
To protect energizer from 110V power surges

ElectroBraid™ Fence Warning Sign 12? x $1.00 = $12.00 CDN
Check local laws

ElectroBraid™ Fence Minder kit 1 x $79.95 = $79.95 CDN
with Test Probe, Wire and Siren

Lightening Arrestor

for under gates

End, Corner and Line Posts

Wood = 38 posts + gate
Fiberglass = 4 mule corners, 2 mule ends, 2 gate supports, 24 line posts, 192 QuickClips, gate, gate bracket, gate latch

5' Heavy Mule Corner 4 x $167 = $668.00 US
5' Heavy Mule End 2 x $106 = $212.00 US
5' Gate Brace 2 x $42.50 = $85.00 US
5' - 7/8" Line Posts 24 x $6.30 = $151.20 US
7/8" Quickclips 192/20 x $7.75 = $77.50 US
Gate 1 x $220.oo US
Gate Bracket 1 x $20.50 US
Gate Latch 1 x $19.00 US

Geotek Fiberglass Subtotal $1453.20 US = $1656.36 CDN + shipping and duties/tax

Subtotal Wood = 2185.55 CDN + posts
Shipping Wood (10% subtotal) = 218.56
GST Wood (7% on top of shipping?) = 168.29
Total Wood = 2572.40 CDN + Wood posts

Subtotal Fiberglass = $2028.35 CDN + posts
Shipping Fiberglass (10% subtotal) = 202.69 CDN
GST Fiberglass (7% on top of shipping?) = $156.07 CDN
Total Fiberglass= $2387.11 CDN + approx $1949.54 for Geotek Fiberglass posts

Approximate total $4336.65 CND for a 1 acre pasture.

To cover 4 square acres would require doubling the ElectroBraid, Line Posts, QuickClips, Warning Signs, another Tension Kit, adding Ground Wires and as many Copper Split-Bolt connectors as ElectroBraid reels. You'd probably also need to add a couple Roller Insulators and Dip/Ridge Posts for vertical changes in direction, since the chances of having perfectly flat pasture are decreased.

ElectroBraid can also be used for paddock divisions (within a secured pasture - used for rotational grazing). One wire at 3' will do, but for dry or frozen ground, a grounded wire is recommended 12" below the top wire. Geotech offers pretty cheap ($1.65 US) pre-clipped, step-in posts for this purpose.

I've checked out other brands, but they didn't seem to have the durability, ease of installation or cost effectiveness of the ElectroBraid system. Plus, they're Canadian, eh?

I'll post a little later with exact cost per line, end and corner post, for ease of calculation.


Miss Knotty said...

Wow. All that math made my head hurt.

Elaine said...

Haha.. sorry - it's really only useful if you're thinking about fencing... I just wanted to record my numbers somewhere, in case I need them in a few years to prove to my DH how cost effective a farm would be ;)

Vicki said...

Hi Elaine
Did you end up installing electrobraid? How have you found it?

Elaine said...

Well, these numbers were just hypothetical, but my Grandma's farm needed to be refenced this summer. We ended up just propping up the old fence posts and rewiring. It's obviously not the best solution, but what can you do on a very limited budget? But everyone I've spoken to about Electrobraid has loved it. A small saddle shop out in the country gave me some great advice and seemed really helpful. If I was ever the decision maker for a farm, I would definitely do Electrobraid with geotek posts and a solar powered generator with a marine battery.