We need to keep our cattle contained, especially off the highway, and the neighbours' animals out.
Major fence damage can occur with trees and large branches coming down across the wires and when termite attack or rot affects the wooden posts and strainers.
Having cattle on the property we use barbed wire (usually four strand high tensile) rather than plain wire.
Repairing and restraining barbed wire is a prickly business and you never come away from a job without a little bloodletting.
The traditional method is the use of a chain strainer.
I don't particularly like to use these. They can be dangerous. Over straining high tensile wire past breaking point is not always a pleasant experience.
But there are other options.
I like to use Strainrite tensioners developed in New Zealand.
They are simple to install by wiring them to a strainer post and then winding the barbed wire onto the ratchet with a spanner or wrench. Any subsequent restraining is made easy by tightening the ratchet another notch or two.
I use these for the trellis wires in the vineyard as well.
There is also a innovative and cheap straining device developed by a small Australian rural engineering company, Kriesl and Co, called a TwitcherTM.
You simply fit the Twitcher (L) onto the wire around the middle of the span and use the orange applicator (R) to wind the wire around it.
Again subsequent restraining is a breeze with just an additional half or full turn.
For critical boundary fences we use an additional electric fence based on a 12V battery charged energizer feeding around a 8000 volt pulse down a wired tape.
This is a very effective deterrent for any wayward cow looking for greener pastures.
And accidentally touching the tape doesn't do 'the farmer' much good either.