30 November 2001



Is your electric fence wire always in a tangled mess and difficult to move? Try a retractable wire constructed from a household washing line.

A cheap retractable electric fence with automatic recoil can be easily constructed, says Nigel Allen, herd manager at Kingston Maurward College, Dorset. All you need is a retractable clothes washing line, costing about £9, and some wire.

Simply remove the clothes line and replace it with electric fence wire. They are made from plastic, so are therefore already insulated. Up to 15m (49ft) of wire can be attached and it can be locked at any line length, says Mr Allen.

At our college, these retractable wires are used to keep cows off their beds after millking. They are also useful for marshalling cows around buildings because they can be quickly recoiled for tractors to gain access.

The only maintenance they require is to replace the electric wire when it begins to fray. Some of these retractable units are still being used twice daily at the college after being in place for eight years, says Mr Allen.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers? If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50 if it is printed in this column.

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