Silent Farm Cost: Farm Fencing

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Silent Farm Cost: Farm Fencing

A farm without a fence costs its owner alot more than they can imagine. This is because the animals escape to the neighboring lands and feed on their crops or trample on them. For the sake of good neighborliness and ethics, the farm owner has to pay for the garden(s) destroyed.

When a neighbors garden is destroyed, often, either he/she approaches you and the matter is settled on spot; or a meeting with the  local leaders is called. Either way, it is the complainant that determines the cost of the damage. negotiations may or not proceed on the matter. Payment is made and the friendship continues. This is a problem we did face on our farm for so long.

Now unfortunately, because this kind of payment is made informally, it often does not appear in the farm books of accounts. It is often taken out of the proprietors pocket and therefore never accounted for. However, when we sat down and calculated one time, we realised that indeed it is a high amount. it is then we decided to (1) reflect it in our farm books (2) invest and fence off the whole farm.

The fence at AYEN FarmStead

There are a number of fence types a farmer can use. The market presents a variety.

On our part, because our land is very big, we opted for the cheaper one. We cut poles from the farm. We bough barbed wire size: 2.0 mm wire diameter × 650 m length × 50 kg/roll and used it to fence the 500 acres. We placed two strands: one and a half foot off the ground and the next, again one and a half foot away. This keeps the cows within the farm.

This kind of spacing is not suitable for the goats and sheep because they can pass through. However, we do not graze the shoats towards the farm boundaries and so not necessary.

How do you build a great fence? Sharing tips from Farm Progress …

1. Buy the right materials. Before purchasing fencing supplies, take some time to consider the fence’s purpose. What type of livestock will it be keeping in? What type of wildlife will it be keeping out? What will the stocking densities be? “Depending on stocking densities, a fence is either a physical barrier or a boundary,” he says. The answers to these questions help determine fencing materials and design.

2. Build a good brace. The brace, Sarson says, “is the heart and soul of the fence.” If a brace is built incorrectly, it doesn’t matter the quality of materials or skill applied to installing the rest of the fence. If the brace fails, the fence fails. A well-built brace can absorb 6,000-pounds of pressure.

3. Use round, not square wood posts. Round posts, with all the growth rings in-tact, have the strength of the tree. Those growth rings that make that tree stand strong, will do the same for the fence. A round post is basically a full tree treated. Square posts are susceptible to rot and are not as strong because they are either made of heartwood, which will not absorb treatment or include only partial growth rings. Depending on terrain, availability and preference welded pipe braces are also a viable option.

4. Use brace pins to hold the brace together. Go with brace pins instead of notching the wood.

5. Use high tensile strength. Tensile strength increases the longevity of a fence and reduces cost per foot. The greater the tensile strength, the smaller the gauge, lighter weight and more flexible the steel, which reduces cost per roll, risk of sag and number of fence posts needed to complete the project.

6. Get the ratio right. Use one round wood post to every four T-posts.

7. Space posts properly. The distance between posts can vary depending on stocking density, terrain and type of fence. However, every dip and rise needs a post. Fastening high spots first makes it easier to achieve adequate tension.

8. Never hard-staple the wire. Leave enough room between the staple and the post so that the wire can move freely. This allows the wire to flex if an animal pushes against the fence and reduces the risk of sag and applies pressure to the brace instead of the post.

More tips…

How tall should a fence be for animals?

Fence height should be at least 48 inches high to prevent animals from climbing over the fence. Woven wire fence can be used with cattle provided there are several strands of barbed top wires used to prevent the cattle from rubbing the woven wire down

When the animals are in calf, and you are using barbed wire, align then closer, atleast one inch apart to prevent them from escaping

How deep do you need to bury a fence post?

The fence post should be buried not less than 2 feet. This makes it firm on the ground. For the wire mesh, bury atleast 1 foot. This prevents the animals from uprooting it.