Fencing in farming
Fencing is vital to maintaining an organised and protected farm and lands. Fencing ranges from designs and materials that keep animals safe but do not harm them, fencing designed to prevent intruders or predators from entering your property easily and barriers to prevent external vehicles.
Gone are the times where livestock could roam freely, due to increased risks of theft, danger of death and damage and loss. When agricultural services moved to focus equally as heavily on crop production, farmers were then made to fence in their animals.
Traditional fences and barriers, particularly in the North of England and Scotland, are constructed from stone and wood, were field stones are more plentiful.
Fencing is not only used to keep livestock safely in one location and prevents them trampling and eating crops, it is also used to keep out unwelcome animals. Particular fence styles have been developed that prevent the entry or exit of animals in that area, such as the sunken fence which is sloped on the side that the animals roam and prevents them scaling and climbing over.
In the UK, there are two types of land when which affect how livestock should be restricted. On private land, it is deemed the responsibility of the owner to secure their livestock through fencing them in and keeping them safe. However, private land that borders on common land needs to be secured to ensure that livestock does not wander onto common land and equally common livestock wandering on private.
Rabbit fencing is a common inclusion for farmers who primarily grow crops and therefore consider rabbits to be pests. They can cause damage to crops, which can result in a loss of earnings and trauma to the ground. Rabbit-proof fencing is a cruelty-free way of keeping rabbits away from crops and securing your land from similar pests, using deeply embedded fencing and posts so that they are unable to burrow under.
Wire fencing core strength comes from it being almost entirely supported by tension. This is executed by the wire being stretched between heavy strutted posts, in corners and at the end of a stretch. Interval posts are places as additional support it keeps the wire evenly spaced, taught and upright. With traditional wire fencing made from galvanised mild steel, it has now been replaced by galvanised high-tensile steel, which is more durable.
Barbed wire fencing was introduced during the industrial revolution and is commonly used as a slightly more aggressive deterrent to people and external livestock. Barbed wire fencing comes in a variety of styles, to fit a particular functionality. Whilst particularly useful for containing cattle and sheep, to deter cows from reaching over the top and sheep from crawling beneath the fence. It also adds an extra layer of protection against thin-skinned and fast-moving animals, who are easily hurt by this type of fencing. However, this also means that barbed wire fencing is not advised for fields containing horses.
Synthetic fencing can be constructed from a number of man-made materials, such as a vinyl coated wire. Used in conjunction with steel t-posts or wooden posts, this material is effective and puts your livestock at less risk of injury. Similar to wire fencing, synthetic fencing is often installed in a similar manner, with the material stretched tight with strong bracing points in corners and the middle. Often used to prevent deer and goats from jumping into or out of areas, this fencing can be constructed to a height, or if height is not an option, two layers of fencing spaced at around 4 feet apart, can be used to prevent the deer from jumping over, by ensuring the gap is too large for them to clear.
Wood fencing is particularly popular for containing horses, due to its inoffensive and safe nature. The strength of wooden fencing alongside the cost-effectiveness means that it can be an economically sound option when it comes to sourcing fencing for your farm. Wooden fencing has also proven to hold up well against livestock who are known to persistently challenge the fence. Moreover, the materials can be sourced from your own land, if you own areas that harbour significant woodland.
AWSM Farming Fencing
We offer fencing installation services as well as the ability to rent our high capacity post knocker, which is hired at a daily rate. Our agricultural services can encompass the sourcing of fencing materials if required. Contact AWSM Farming to find out more about our fencing agricultural services.
Depending on the issue, the usual practice is to use woven steel wire, sometimes known as box wire or pig netting. To prevent grazing from domestic animals (not cattle), a finer mesh may be needed. 3x3 GI Chain Link on stone or concrete posts is common practice for this issue, animals won’t be harmed when touching the fence and it is effective at keeping them away from crops. For larger animals, like cattle, a more robust option may be required, and electric or barbed wire fencing may need to be considered.
The distance used between your fence posts will entirely depend on the conditions of the land, how deep the posts can be driven and what materials you’re using, like wooden or concrete posts, or the type of wire used. But for standard, mild steel wire, posts should be no more than 11ft apart. If using high tensile wire, heavy-duty posts buried to an appropriate depth, this can be increased to 20ft.
Barbed wire has always been a traditional choice for farm fencing, though high-tensile wire fencing is becoming increasingly popular. When separating bulls from cows, use a larger gauge wire, thicker posts and added depth. Whilst barbed wire seems to divide opinion for some farmers, it is very effective for keeping cattle in the field, but can also help keep predators out, protecting the young. If barbed wire has caused problems for you and your livestock in the past, consider adding a strand of electric wire in its stead as an effective deterrant. Always remember that an electric fence must be clearly signposted, best practice is considered every 50 - 100m.