Build a waterway electric fence

This modification contains cattle but lets flood debris escape.

If you run livestock and have scratched your head about how to deal with fencing and waterways, Jacob Fugate has one workable solution.  Decorative Wire Grille

Build a waterway electric fence

“We have tried many ways to make a water gap for our cattle so they drink down in the creek,” says Fugate. “However, the gap is continuously washed out by debris floating down the creek.” 

He found that if he raised the gap of the fence higher to avoid damage, the cattle would go underneath. His final solution was to use high-tensile fence stays, spaced properly along barbed wire tightly strung across the water area. The stays would keep cattle in, while allowing debris to easily float underneath. 

What happens when water levels rise and contact the electrified stays? “The cattle avoid the water at that time and the fence shorts out,” says Fugate. “As the water level drops back down, the fence resets and a charge is available when the cattle come back to the creek.”

Jacob Fugate took over the operation of his grandparents’ farm in Whitesburg, Tennessee, where he and his brother, Daniel, run cattle, produce hay, and raise corn. When time permits, he likes to show cattle with his girlfriend. He is involved with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Email Jacob at

Build a waterway electric fence

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