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Basic Components for Farm Fencing


Even though farm fences vary greatly, some of the components are similar. The variation often is determined by the purpose of the fence. These are commonly found items used in constructing fences on the farm.

Fence Posts

Fence posts come in an array of sizes and lengths to accommodate varying fence heights and setting depths. Solid wood treated posts are a good choice for permanent boundary fences.

Steel studded fence t-post

Fiberglass or steel posts are suited for temporary pasture grazing fences. They weigh less, do not rot and are more easily driven into the ground than wood. Steel posts are fireproof and help ground the fence against lightning. However, livestock can bend them or move them out of alignment. Deter this by interspersing wood line post at certain intervals.

The general consensus is that the larger the top diameter, the stronger the post. Line posts can be as small as two-and-a-half inches, while brace posts should be five inches or more in diameter.

Pay special attention to corner posts. Considered by many to be the fence's backbone, corner posts should have a minimum eight-inch diameter. A brace assembly is used for each fence attaching to a corner post. Options include single span, double span and braced assemblies.

Wire Fencing

A wire fence and its overall durability depends on how fast rust weakens the wire. It is the zinc coating on galvanized steel that prevents rusting. The zinc's thickness determines the length of time before rusting begins. The American Society for Testing Materials rates fence wire by its galvanization. Class 1 has the lightest coating of zinc and Class 3 has the heaviest.

Wire staples may be comparatively small, but they're important. They not only hold the wire in place, they also are critical to the strength, durability and longevity of the fence. Use the correct staples for the type of fence being built.

Electric Fence Controllers

Portable electric fence

What an animal feels when it comes into contact with an electric fence depends on the voltage, amperage and duration of the shock.

The controller is an electric fence's most important component. Choose it carefully, as there are differences between high impedance and low impedance fencing options. Match the controller's capacity to the fence that is to be charged. Look for manufacturer's information regarding its strength and the number of fence miles it can energize.

Use an electric powered controller for fields located near an electric source. Battery-operated controllers can be used for fields without access to electricity. They operate on one, two or three batteries, can be disconnected from the controller and recharged as needed. Solar energy kits are available, too.

Grounding and Lightning Protection

Lightning always finds the fastest path to ground. Arrestors and chokes offer limited protection against lightning strikes. Since they do not protect the electric fence controller from a direct strike, disconnect the controller from the fence line during thunderstorms.

Lightning can strike directly or indirectly, so grounding electric fences is critical. Grounding is achieved by driving galvanized rods into the land at certain intervals and tying them together with copper wire. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

The ground rods should be at least 50 feet from any utility ground rods or power cables.

Shop for more farm products. Read more in our Farm How-To article section.


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