While at a meeting, Tom Gray receives a text message that his electric fences are not working properly at the farm. The text does not originate from his wife, but rather his Gallagher I Series Fence Energizer System.
Gray's farm near Platte City, Mo., serves as the test location for this new technology offered by New Zealand based company, Gallagher. The company is already selling the "smart" series is in other countries, but by late summer it should be available in the United States.
"This is a way of offering piece of mind and security to our customers," says A.J. Ebert, director of sales-east with Gallagher North America. "Farmers can be away from their home and feel confident that their animals are being contained."
The I Series offers protection for up to six zones. Each zone is monitored by a main energizer controller along with individual fence monitors. "If just one zone drops voltage," Ebert explains, "a farmer will get a text as to what is going on at that zone."
How it works
The fence monitor will recognize a drop in energizer performance and signal an alarm to the energizer controller. Alerts are then sent to the energizer controller, or the optional feature of sending a message to your mobile phone via the SMS energizer controller and/or an optional alarm system.
Once the farmer returns to the homestead, the energizer controller will show fence and zone performance. The energizer pinpoints the exact zone that is down. The farmer then takes the hand-held energizer and fault finder and heads directly to the field where the electric fence that is not working properly.
At the fault area, the farmer places the orange and black remote directly on the wire to turn off the electricity to the fence, allowing repairs to be made safely. Once the fault is repaired, using the remote, the farmer turns power back on and tests the fence to make sure the system is operational.
Gray likes the system. He uses a 7-strand electric fence system to keep his livestock in and predators out. He finds the remote particularly handy. "I carry it around with me," he says. "If I need to cross a fence, I just set the remote on the line and switch it off." However, he finds an even greater benefit to the hand held remote.
Running up the lane is one of Gray's young sons. So Gray immediately pulls out the remote, touches the line closest to his son and deactivates it. "They are young, and although we told them about the fence, this just helps," he says. "My boys are the reason I like the remote."
According to Ebert, the system works for small or large-scale farming operations. And with more farmers working off the farm, he says the Gallagher i Series system just offers that extra security. Instead of receiving a phone call from the police or neighbors saying that animals are out, he says, now farmers have an option to receive an immediate text that may help them address the problem before any animal escapes.
He adds it can immediately alert livestock owners to cut lines that often happen with many livestock thefts. "This system is about early detection," Ebert says. "This just gives you that piece of mind during your day whether on the farm or off. Let's face it you have more to worry about than the fence."