will likely be one of your biggest investments of money and time, and as such, deserves to be thoroughly researched before making any decisions.
Fences are an important part of multispecies grazing, as planning and controlling livestock movement is essential for proper grazing and pasture rotation. Select a type of fence that will meet your needs and help you more effectively manage your operation.
There are many types of fences, varying from permanent to temporary, at a wide range of costs. Fencing requires an investment of time and money, and as such, should be thoroughly researched before any decisions are made. Some key points to consider include:
Following are brief descriptions of the most popular types of fences.
Portable electric Portable electric fencing is lightweight, portable and easy to arrange. It is reasonably priced, although the cost of electric or solar power must be considered. Temporary electric fence may require more upkeep and maintenance due to a more rigorous use of material. Typical material costs are 16-18¢/foot for a 3-strand portable electric fence with Tposts and insulators every 30 feet. Example: One mile of 3-strand portable electric wire fence at 18¢/foot is $950 (not including H-braces and corner posts).
High-tensile wire Electrified hightensile wire fencing is often used for interior boundaries. Multi-strand high-tensile wire (4-5 wires) is used for boundaries. High-tensile wire fences are easy to install but require regular maintenance. Interior fences should consist of two to three wires for sheep or goats, one to two for cattle. Border fences should be three to four for sheep, four to five for goats, and three for cattle. Typical material costs are 13-15¢/foot for a 5-strand high-tensile fence with T-posts and insulators every 30 feet. Example: One mile of 5-strand high-tensile fence at 15¢/foot is $792 (not including H-braces and corner posts).
Barbed wire Barbed wire fencing works well for controlling cattle, sheep and goats. Labor and material cost sare high, and periodic maintenance is required. Border fences should be 4-strand wire for cattle, 5- to 6-strand wire for sheep, and 6-strand wire for goats. Interior fencing should be 3-strand for cattle, 3- to 4-stand for sheep, and 4- to 5-strand for goats. Typical material costs are 27-30¢/foot for a 6-strand fence with T-posts every 15 feet. Example: One mile of 6-strand barbed wire fence at 30¢/foot is $1,584 (not including H-braces and corner posts).
Updated Barbed wire Many pastures already have a 3- or 4-strand barbed wire fence and may only require an additional 2-3 strands to secure the pasture for sheep or goats. When updating such fences, wires are typically added to the lower two feet. It is recommended that the bottom be six inches from the ground, the second wire 13 inches, third wire 21 inches, and fourth wire 30 inches from ground surface. The fifth and sixth wires should be 42 inches and 54 inches from the ground surface, respectively. This design will provide a secure border fence for a combination of sheep, cattle, or goats. Typical material costs for adding three strands of barbed wire to an existing 3-strand barbed wire fence are about 7¢/foot for the wire. Example: 1 mile of an added 3-strand barbed wire fence at 7¢/foot is $370.
Woven wire Woven wire provides excellent fencing for sheep and goats; however, a top electric or barbed wire is needed with cattle. Woven wire is considered the most expensive of the fencing options, but maintenance is low. Sheep and goats can get their head or legs tangled in the netting, causing injury and even death. Typical material costs for woven wire with the addition of 1-strand of barbed-wire placed 6- 12 inches above woven wire is estimated at 43¢/foot (39 inches, 12.5 gauge wire) and 48¢/foot (47 inches, 12.5 gauge wire), including Tposts spaced 15 feet apart). Example: One mile of 47-inch woven wire fence plus one strand of barbed wire at 48¢/foot is $2,534 (not including H-braces or corner posts).
NOTE: None of the above estimates include labor. In addition, prices for materials may vary according to location and season. Shopping around to get the best buy can result in substantial savings!
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