2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Moveable Electric Fence Made From Wheel Line Irrigator
Jones, who operates a ranch near Mountain View, Alberta, wanted to practice rotational grazing on 80 acres of hay ground, but he didn’t want the hassle of moving electric fences all the time. So he decided to use his wheel line irrigator as a portable electric fence. The entire irrigator, including the wheels, pipe and sprinkler heads, is electrified.
“We used it for the first time last fall and again this spring and were amazed at how well it works,” says Jones. “We move the wheel line about 40 ft. at a time to give cows access to fresh hay. Once the move is complete, we can also irrigate. We move the wheel line twice a day, covering a total distance of about 80 ft. It’s a simple system that’s way less time consuming than having to pull up electric fence posts and wires and put them back in again.”
The entire 80-acre hay field is surrounded by a barbed wire fence. To electrify the irrigator, a large fence charger is hooked up to a barbed wire that attaches to one end of the irrigator. The bottom half of each metal wheel on the irrigator is covered with a layer of thick plastic that insulates the irrigator from the ground.
To move the unit, Jones closes off the valve on a main line that runs alongside the field which allows the water to drain from the system (a valve is located in the mainline every 40 ft.). Then he unhooks the fence charger, starts the engine (a mover unit powered by a small gas engine is located at the center of the wheel line), and drives the wheel line 40 ft. down the field to the next mainline valve position where he makes sure the plastic-covered part of the wheels are against the ground. Then he reattaches the fence charger to the irrigator. When he wants to irrigate, he detaches the fence charger and reconnects to the water source.
After the wheel line has covered the entire field, he then reverses the line and travels back to the original starting point where the system is ready for the next irrigation cycle.
“Cattle get shocked when they touch any part of the wheel line and won’t bother it again,” says Jones. At first we tried attaching electric fence wire along the full length of the irrigator, but it didn’t work well because the cattle tended to rub against the sprinkler heads and drain valves and break them off. Also, sometimes the wires got tangled up in the wheels.”
To make the plastic wheel covers he cut up a big section of 1/8-in. thick plastic into 18-in. wide by 90-in. long strips, and then duct-taped them to each wheel.
In the photo, the engine that drives the wheel line irrigator is out of view behind a hill. “This field is hilly enough to provide the wheel line with 65 lbs. of gravity pressure, so we don’t even have to start up a pump,” says Jones.
The photo also shows 4 1/2-ft. long plastic T-posts spaced about 100 ft. apart at both ends of the wheel line. The T-posts are pounded into the ground and attached with wire to the irrigator pipe.
“We use the irrigator as a stationary electrified fence in winter, which is usually when we get a lot of strong winds in our area,” explains Jones. “The T-posts stabilize the wheel line and keep it from moving around. We remove the posts in the spring.”
“I’d also like to thank my wife Trina and daughters Ruth and Serenity for believing in my ideas and making them a reality,” says Jones.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Jones, P.O. Box 2, Mountain View, Alberta Canada T0K 1N0 (ph 403 308-7480; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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