Your farm is made up of a lot of hard work and money. From livestock, to expensive equipment, to specialist vehicles, you probably won’t be surprised at how much it all adds up to – after all, you purchased it!
A lot of hard work happens on a farm. Hard work that takes years to build up. And a lot of the time, farming isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life that’s been passed on through the generations. In fact, did you know that there are 151,000 family firms in the agricultural sector?
Farming really is more a way of lifel than a lot of people realise. This is one of the many reasons that you’ll want to make every effort to keep it safe and secure with electric fencing.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the right electric fencing to keep your livestock safe and secure.
- Find out what kind of electric fence you need
There are a few types of electric fencing and these include temporary and permanent fencing.
The type you opt for will depend on your farm’s specific circumstances and what you’re trying to achieve.
Temporary electric fencing
Temporary electric fencing (or portable electric fencing) is perfect for fencing off different field areas, or constructing short-term paddocks. As the name suggests, this fencing is portable, so can be quickly relocated. This is because it uses stakes that are easily inserted into and removed from the ground.
Permanent electric fencing
Permanent electric fencing (or fixed electric fencing) is a long-term solution that uses posts made of timber or steel, meaning it’s more durable but timber can be prone to wear and tear over time.
- Choosing your electric fencing size
The two main things to think about when establishing the size of your electric fence are:
- The size of the largest area you’ll be locating it
- The size of the livestock you’re managing
To decide the length of your electric fence you’ll need to know the dimensions of the area you’re trying to cover. And if you’re choosing a temporary electric fence, you should think about the largest area of space you’ll need to erect the fence so you order the right quantities of material in the first instance.
To decide on the height of your fence and strand options, you’ll need to consider the livestock being managed. Different animals will have different requirements, so make sure you do your research beforehand.
When purchasing your electric fence, find out from the supplier which type of fence is most suitable for your farm. Most farming suppliers should provide electric fencing for different animals including horses, cattle and pigs.
- Confirm the details
When purchasing electric fencing, you’ll need to confirm:
- The type/number of stakes
This is normally determined by the type of electric fence you choose (whether it’s temporary/permanent). For example, permanent electric fences normally use timber stakes, whereas temporary electric fences use plastic stakes.
How many stakes you need will then be established by how long your electric fence is and how much space you need between them.
- Type and size of wire/tape
The wire/tape you choose will usually depend on the livestock you’re managing. Most suppliers will stock various wires such as galvanised wire, rope and tape in different sizes. The number of strands you opt for will again depend on the animals being managed.
- Type and number of insulators
Your choice of stake and wire will usually dictate the type of insulator you need for your electric fence. To work out how many insulators you’ll need, you’ll usually need to multiply the number of stakes by the number of strands that you opted for.
- Deciding on an energiser
The type of energiser you choose will probably depend on the length of the fence line. Typical options normally include solar powered, mains powered and mixed option mains and battery powered.
Battery/solar powered energisers tend to work well with temporary electric fencing as they’re easily movable and can be used in remote locations lacking power supply. A mains energiser will typically provide more power, however it will need direct access to a power supply. If you opt for a battery energiser, you’ll obviously need to replace the battery every so often, whereas a solar energiser will recharge itself.
- Pick a reputable electric fence supplier
One of the most important parts of investing in an electric fence is picking the best supplier for what you’re looking for. The right supplier can be the difference in high-quality, long-lasting fences that pay for themselves over time, and lower quality fences that may end up costing more money in the long-run.
There are a few things you can check before choosing a supplier:
- What brand of electric fencing do they stock?
You should check the manufacturer that your farm supplier uses. This is important as it gives you a chance to do some research into the brand. Things you should look into include quality of electric fences, ease of use/setup, electric fence lifespan and so on.
- How long has the electric fence supplier been in business?
As with any online retailer, you should do your checks to ensure the company you’re looking to purchase from is legitimate and trustworthy. There are lots of reputable businesses out there, but it’s always better to do your due diligence.
Also, farm suppliers that have been serving people for years will have a deep insight into what their customers want, and are likely to stock manufacturers that are well received by long-term, loyal customers.
- What do other people say about them as an electric fence supplier?
A big part of shopping for anything online is usually researching the website you’ll be shopping on. Good places to check for reviews from real people are review sites or social media platforms.
- Are they easy to get hold of?
What happens if you have any questions/problems with your electric fencing? Is their customer service team responsive? Do they know what they’re talking about? Giving the supplier a call can be a good idea to see how knowledgeable their staff are and how easy they are to work with.
- What are their electric fence delivery options?
Do they have delivery options? How much does it cost to deliver? If they don’t deliver, how far will you need to travel to collect the electric fence equipment? These are the sorts of questions you could think about.
Most decent suppliers will also offer free/discounted delivery if you spend over a certain amount of money – so make sure you look out for any offers that may be available.
H2 Other ways to secure your farm
Other than electric fences, there are other ways you can boost your farm security to avoid crime. Here are some of them:
- Conduct a farm security review
Assess your farm land and try to identify any gaps in security. This could be areas of land where there is expensive equipment and weaknesses in security, or fences on the perimeter of your land that may be out of sight, or maybe compromised. You can then prioritise any issues you find and resolve them in order of urgency.
- Review and upgrade door/window locks
If you have a barn door padlock that’s slightly insecure, or maybe a vehicle window that’s broken, make it a priority to fix them. One broken door can attract thieves and cost you a lot more money than it would to fix it.
Also, if you have a storage building that holds particularly expensive equipment inside, you could think about blocking the entrance with hay bales or vehicles to restrict access.
- Hide vehicle keys
Vehicles can make for some of the most expensive pieces of farm equipment. To make sure thieves don’t successfully target them, they should be parked out of sight at the end of each day, with keys hidden away.
- Consider security equipment
Security cameras/alarms/lights can deter thieves. And if they don’t deter them, they can help identify them and also alert you that someone is on your property. Signposting security measures can be a good idea to warn intruders away.
- Brand your equipment
If you are unfortunate enough to experience a theft, branding your equipment can help in the police’s efforts to locate the stolen items. Also, if you raise the alarm and make people aware what items have been stolen, if they witness any equipment being sold on, they’ll know it’s yours. You can pick up a serial number kit to help with this.
- Take photos of your equipment
Relocating any stolen equipment will be easier if you have pictures to pass to the police and share publicly.
- Secure the outskirts of your farm
Farm land is often so large that it can be easy for thieves to spot weak areas to break through. As well as electric fencing, you may want to think about fencing to maximise security. You could also consider additional security cameras/motion detectors in areas that are specifically out of sight.
- Always lock away tools and equipment that aren’t in use
If you’re finishing work late and starting early the next day, it can be tempting to leave any equipment you’re using accessible ready for the morning. But to prevent theft, you should always take the maximum measures possible to secure your equipment.
- Fit vehicles with immobilisers
Fitting vehicles with immobilisers can help them stay put if thieves attempt to steal them. Also, having an immobiliser in place can deter thieves in the first place.
- Keep an accurate record of all livestock
Keeping a register of livestock will allow you to easily keep track of whether any of your animals are missing. Marking/tagging them will also make them easier to find if they go missing.
- Make your farm less easy to access
Installing or improving existing gates on your farm can make your farm more secure by discouraging unwanted visitors. Of course, this may not be an option if you rely on farm visitors, but could be a good idea outside of visiting hours.
- Sign up to Farm Watch
If you haven’t already, you could sign up to a Farm Watch Scheme. The schemes are sponsored by the police and aim to reduce opportunities for farm crime by creating community alerts, gathering information, regular police visits and conducting farm surveys from Crime Reduction Officers.
- Invest in farm insurance
Just in case something unfortunate does happen, making sure you have insurance in place will provide cover for all of the assets you choose to cover.
You’ll need to be really careful when working out how much cover you need though. The last thing you want is not being able to claim for everything you need to because you didn’t calculate enough cover. Depending on your insurer, this would normally include all of your farm equipment, plus personal possessions. If you live on your farm you may even be able to get a policy that covers your contents and building structure, plus farming facilities.
- Use suitable lighting
Installing lights that are triggered by motion sensors can make it easy for you to get around your farm, but not so easy for trespassers. You should check the lights regularly to make sure they’re working properly.
- Display warning signs
Signposting restricted access is a good way to make sure people are fully aware that if they go any further, they will be trespassing.
- Look after your laptop
Your laptop probably holds lots of important business information. Banking details, confidential records, company plans and so on. You should make sure that your laptop is completely secure, not sharing the password with anyone other than those who require full access. You may also want to make sure it has antivirus protection and is insured to make sure it’s covered should something unexpected happen.