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Agricultural Fencing - The Basics

Agricultural fencing has been used by humans to keep animals in or out of certain areas throughout our history. Fencing can range from simple post and rail style to total electrical systems, depending on your specific needs.

So let’s get back to basics and find out everything you need to know about agricultural fencing in our guide below…

Choosing a Traditional Style

Simple post and rail fencing is one of the most traditional types of agricultural fencing. Fairly simple to construct, it’s handy where property winds and dips: the fence line can easily be adapted or moved. Either pointed fence posts are driven into the ground or secured using back ramming.

This involves digging holes a bit larger than the fence posts used, and tamping down earth around the planted posts, in layers. This method can be used where the earth is fairly dense.

Electric Fencing

Electric fencing is often employed in rural settings to protect livestock. Larger animals such as cattle and horses get a small shock to make them back away from the fence line. A handy aspect to this fencing is that it can be erected with cheaper poly and metal posts that allow the system to be moved.

You can change cattle grazing pastures or temporarily keep horses in a training area. Electrified cables or ropes, or Electro Tape are popular for this type of agricultural fencing.

The electric system is also used to protect smaller stock such as sheep, goats and chickens – usually with high tensile galvanised wire and mesh or wire fencing. Its shock deters potential predators trying to get through or under the fencing. Both permanent and temporary versions of this agricultural fencing require a power source, whether battery or mains, conductors, insulators, an earthing stake and a few other elements.

This fencing is not that complicated to build, but consulting experts like those found at AVS Fencing Supplies will help greatly.

Metal Gates

Other commonly used elements used by farmers, ranchers and others needing agricultural fencing include strong galvanized metal gates. With sturdy 7-rail types to hold in large stock, or 6-rail half mesh versions for smaller animals, these gates work well with any type of fencing. Other materials often applied are spools of barbed wire for perimeter fencing; rolls of stock fencing or sheep fencing, easily stapled to fence posts; and, rolled deer fencing to protect crops and trees.

Choosing the Right Type of Fencing for your Animals

Different animals will require different types of fencing, according to their size and the way they behave. For instance, a large horse will need a higher boundary than a sheep or goat as they are more likely to jump over a fence than dig under it.

Sheep do not commonly test fencing, however goats are well known to climb, jump and crawl under fencing. Although these animals act differently to each other, they are of course a similar size and will have similar fencing requirements. Just make sure that the fencing is tall enough for them not to jump over and ground in enough for them to not get under.

Pigs are also known for digging and crawling under fences so make sure you install fencing that is dug deep enough. When it comes to keeping horses however, there is little concern over the depth of the fence. Rail or board fencing, rather than barbed wire fencing tend to be popular choices for horse owners.

Barbed wire fencing is a popular choice for those keeping cattle but it is a good idea to install electric fencing on fence lines that are being tested too much.

Tips on Building Agricultural Fencing

  • To guide your posts, run a single strand of plain wire between your straining posts to get a straight line. The straight line will enable you to guide the position of your intermediate posts and show up any undulations in the ground.

  • You can make tying off your straining posts easier by stripping out the last few vertical wires of the fence.

  • It is important to ensure struts are long and positioned low when installing straining posts for your fence. If you do this you will have more chance of getting better resistance to hold the post firm.

  • Add 2 strands of high-tensile barbed wire above the fence if you are concerned about downward pressure from cattle.

  • Create even tension across the fence line by using a straining clamp when tensioning your fence.

  • If your fence is in looser ground, you’ll need to concrete in posts in a ballast and cement mix (approx. ratio 6:1) or use quick-setting postfix. A bit more time-intensive, this system can secure many versions of agricultural fencing for a long time.

    If setting posts where water doesn't drain off readily, place some shingle under each post to assist in drainage and combat post rot. An easy way to install this type of agricultural fencing is to use morticed (pre-holed) fence posts and simple slip-in arris rails.

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