When determining the best fence for farm applications, consider what it is to be used for, its materials and construction. Other factors include the cost to build and maintain it, as well as how long it will be in service. Choose from these commonly used farm fence styles.
Typically used as border fences, board fences have boards nailed to wooden posts that are eight to 10 feet apart. Heights of four- to five-feet are common. Count on paying more for these fences, because of materials, labor and ongoing upkeep. For some farmers, though, the added expense is offset by the strength, safety for the animals, and attractiveness.
Barbed wire fencing use two strands of smooth, galvanized steel wire twisted together with two or four barbs spaced every four to five inches. Standard barbed wire fences have three to five strands of barbed wire stretched taut between posts that are 15 to 25 feet apart.
Suspension barbed wire fences use four to six strands of wire, but incorporate about three inches of sag between the posts. The wires are held apart by twisted stays that are 16 feet apart. Line posts are 80 to 120 feet apart. By design, the fence will sway when the wind blows or animals come into contact with it. It is this sway that keeps animals away from the fence.
Woven wire fences use horizontal lines of smooth wire separated by vertical stays. The distance between the horizontal wires varies, but generally it increases with the height of the fence. The fence's height and horizontal wire spacing are determined by the animals' size and jumping ability.
High-tensile wire fencing is relatively easy to construct, long lasting and require little maintenance. The wires are affixed tautly on wood, fiberglass, insulated metal posts or a combination of posts. Tensile strengths range from 170,000 to 200,000 or more pounds per square inch (psi). Generally high-tensile wire fences can withstand about 1,100 pounds psi of livestock pressure without losing elasticity.
Confine animals with cable fences. A typical cable fence uses smooth steel wire cables stretched between anchor posts. The cables themselves consist of seven wires twisted together. Heavy-duty springs at the ends of each cable absorb the shock on the wires as animals press against them. A fence used for large animals usually has six separate cables. The spacing between individual cables depends upon the size of animals to be confined.
Electric fencing equipment, such as the Dare Aluminum Electric Fence can be a permanent or temporary fencing solution for confining livestock or keeping out predators.
They must, however, be designed and constructed with enough strength to absorb contact by the animals. An electric fence controller energizes the wire, so adequate power is needed to charge the length of fencing. Electric, battery or solar power sources are available.
Farmers frequently use polywire strands woven together with polyethylene fibers. To train animals to stay within the electric fence, they need to see the wire as they feel the shock. Animals and people have the hardest time seeing the customary black polywire. Make it more visible by buying brighter colors or tying colorful cloth or plastic ribbons on the electric polytape fencing.