Green Farming: Solar Powered Electric Fence for Livestock

Solar powered electric fence for sheep

A solar powered electric fence offers both environmental and economical benefits to the eco-concious livestock farmer, and provides an ideal solution for off-grid homesteaders to contain their animals.

In order to reduce greenhouse emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, we all need to do our bit to minimize our carbon footprint, both on the home and work front – farmers are no exception. In fact, by working with nature, farmers can actually benefit a great deal. Farming practices are increasingly becoming more sustainable, both in their use of eco-friendly farming methods, and in their approach to resource usage. Organic farming methods produce high quality food products, which are favored by many for the health benefits they offer.

Off-Grid Farming

One way that we can reduce our carbon footprint significantly is to use green energy sources wherever possible. For the farmer, solar power is a convenient alternative energy source that offers multiple benefits. Besides the initial outlay for equipment, once installed, solar power generally provides an unlimited supply of free energy that is easy to access. In addition, being off-grid gives a farmer a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to establish operations in remote inaccessible areas and be totally self-sufficient. Solar panels can be used to provide a farm homestead with off-grid power, while hot water can be supplied courtesy of a solar water heater installed on a rooftop.

Solar Powered Electric Fencing

Electric fencing is an extremely efficient way to contain livestock, including horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and even smaller animals such as poultry and rabbits. It can also be used effectively to contain pets, and to exclude predators or problem animals, such as deer that are notorious for damaging crops – making it a popular choice for farmers. Solar powered electric fence chargers are available, which allows a farmer to utilize free energy from the sun to keep their electric fences charged.

Besides offering a source of unlimited free power, a solar powered electric fence charger will continuously charge electric fencing, without needing to be plugged into a power source to be recharged. Solar powered electric fence energizers not only offer an eco-friendly alternative to standard fence chargers, they also offer a great deal of convenience. They are generally portable and can be used in inaccessible areas or in areas where electricity is not available. They are a popular choice with farmers who use electric fencing for rotational grazing or strip grazing as they can be moved around with ease.

Basically, an electric livestock fence consists of the following components:

  • A conductor wire (electric tape, rope, wire, or netting), which carries the electric charge to provide a shock to an animal that touches it.

  • Insulator clips that hold the conductor wire in place on the fence posts.

  • Energizer or fence charger – can be powered by AC, battery, or solar power – that provides power to charge the fence.

  • Grounding rods to ground the fence; plus a choice of other optional extras.

An energizer (fence charger) is required to provide power to an electric fence. These can run off AC power, but will need to be plugged in to work. A battery powered fence charger can be used to provide power to a remote electric fence, but the battery will need to be recharged regularly for the fence to remain live. A solar powered fence charger provides a constant supply of power to a battery, which stores the energy and uses this to power the fence. Because the battery is constantly being charged by the solar charger, it doesn’t need to be continuously monitored and recharged – it is topped up with free energy from the sun.

Farmers, by the very nature of their trade, tend to be close to nature and have a good understanding of how natural processes work. By incorporating green methods in their farming operations, and harnessing power from natural energy sources, they can work in tune with nature to enhance the productivity of their farming operations, save money, and benefit the environment at the same time.

Featured Image by kbrookes, via Flickr

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