Fences are designed to keep animals in, but quite often the success of a fencing plan is determined by the section you actually want the animals to go through – the gates.
Ensuring enough gates of the right type can make the difference between creating a flexible, easy to use set up and one which causes considerable problems.
“Choosing the right type of gate, installing them correcting and making sure there are enough of them are key considerations when developing effective fencing configurations,” explains Mark Oliver, UK Sales Manager with Gallagher Europe. “All too often badly installed gates result in animals escaping, expensive workarounds and lost time.”
He says there are numerous gate options for electric fencing and the choice will be influenced by the type of animal being enclosed, the type of conductor being used and whether a permanent or temporary fence.
“Every animal needs a different type of fence, so when choosing a gate it is important to keep this in mind. For horses, we recommend a gate such as tape or elastic rope with 1 or multiple strands while for cattle a spring gate or a gate with elastic rope. For safety reasons spring gates should not be used for horses.
“In general terms we would advise using the same conductor for the gate as for the main run of fence.”
In permanent fencing systems he advises including plenty of gates to allow flexibility. He says for heavily used paddocks, having two gates can reduce damage particularly in wet conditions. Furthermore, having more gates makes it easier to split fields using additional temporary fences. Gateways need to be sized to accommodate the size of machinery that might be using it. Remember that contractors often use larger machinery than many farmers regularly use.
“Maintaining voltage across the length of the full fence when gates are open is fundamental. In permanent arrangements, we recommend using an underground cable to ensure the current can travel on both sides of the gate when it is opened. This allows the gate to be created that carries no voltage. This should be buried underground and to prevent damage and prolong the life of the cable this should ideally be placed in a protective pipe.
“We recommend that gate posts are at least the same diameter as corner posts.
“Where vehicle movements are likely to be high, there has been increased interest in drive through gates where the vehicle can push the gate open without the driver having to dismount and open the gate. The gate then closes automatically once the vehicle has passed through.
“Planning sufficient, effective gateways can make fencing infrastructures more efficient and flexible.”