So I have been given the job of deciding whats going to be best for fencing on a farm that I take care of for a city person. Right now I care for his 2 horses and 2 cows(will be more by summers end) and the current fencing needs to be torn down and started from new.
I am not sure how much land is there but there is atleast 120 acres to be fenced (some is hay fields that wont be pasture until late fall). The good thing is that my 3 horses will be moved there as soon as fence is up, the barn and stalls are there.
I know that along the road frontage will be board which is mainly the hay fields. There is 20 acres that leads to the old dairy barn that will be only for the cows, another section off the barn will be for the goats(5) and donkey he plans to get which will probably be 5+/- acres. Then the horse's will get a laneway to an upper pasture that is nearly 15 acres and then there will be a couple other smaller pastures built for the horse's too.
He has hired a company to come in and do the pastures but it is up to me as to what type of fencing goes in. I have yet to be given a spending limit on this project.
So really I guess the question is what are going to be the best fencing options for horses, goats, and cows. All will be in different areas of the property so fencing does not have to be the same it just needs to look nice. The only board fencing that he wants to do is around the road frontage so that is not an option for everything.
I agree with no climb. Especially with the goats. The cows can probably deal with high tension wire if they are in a back field somewhere but if you are going to move different animals around, then no climb is your best bet. And if it's wide open space, then do the board on top so the horses can see it. Otherwise, for my pasture, I have a high tension wire on top. If big fat Louie is wanting to press on it, he's not pressing on the no climb.
If you have a problem with animals coming onto your property from the hay field, you might want to think about no climb there too. If you want it to look classy, then maybe a 4 board with a low hot wire to shock dogs and low critters.
You might want to ask about budget first since it will dictate materials. Knowing what noclimb costs I think you'd give the owner a heart attack. I fenced in 7 acres with the stuff and it was $$$$ to do so. They also will lean and scratch on it unless you run something to keep them off of it like electric tape. Speaking of electric, I'd look at HorseGuard if budget is very tight. We had it at another farm as perimeter and it held up to 3 major hurricanes which surprised all of us. Never had an issue with horses escaping as they stayed clear of it.
Works great for just about every species and helps keep out marauding dogs and feral hogs.
I don't dislike high tensile but for goats.... they'll get out.
Question - why would you fence a hayfield? I'd not fence a hayfield at all - waste of money and equipment might bugger it up.
If you plan to rotate livestock in and out of different pastures you'd want to go with a fence that works for multiple species.
If the animals will only be rotated within their own fields -then you may want to go with what's best for that species.
But many people would prefer a single "look" for their farm. Depends on how serious this guy is about farming. Is this a rich guy that wants to play farmer on the weekends - you know - bring the city folk down for wine and cheese on the deck overlooking his horsies? He might prefer the place look uniform and beautiful throughout, or cost may not be a significant factor.
Or does the owner intend to run a real dairy/horse/beef/goat operation?
To me - that would make a difference (if I was the operator).
What some people do is have a "nice looking" fence bordering roads or driveways, and then switch to high tensile for the rest of it. It dresses up the place but still remains economical.
Others might decide to use the same fence throughout - and rotate multiple species into fields as part of their management plan. (goats rotate in to clear the weeds/brush left behind by horses, then pigs rotate in to prepare seedbeds/aerate, cattle in first to graze it down, etc.)
After owning several farms and putting up different fencing, the kind I prefer THE MOST is the horseguard tape. It is economical, looks great, fairly easy to install. You MSUT MUST MUST buy HORSEGUARD brand though, no other tape will hold up as well and other tapes "flutter" in the wind which Horseguard WILL NOT DO if properly installed. It should hold all of the animals mentioned as it is electric, you may need a fairly low strand for the goats, lower than what I would put for horses or cows.
Does the owner care about environmental impact? If they do, you could consider using locust posts instead of pressure treated. Pressure treated posts leach toxins from the preservative into the ground. Have no idea what impact that has but if you operate under the "better safe than sorry" principle then locust is the way to go. (Also factor in how many posts you'll be using -- if not that many, maybe toxins are less of a concern). Locust costs the same as pressure treated.
On the other hand, if you are using a big fencing company they won't be used to using locust. On the other other hand, in this economy you can probably find a good fencer who's willing to do something a little different if it means getting the job.
You can get locust posts at small sawmills. I'm in northeastern Dutchess County, if you are anywhere nearby I can let you know some local sawmills which make locust posts if you are interested.
PS I second the no climb w/board, which is what I have. We did our own fencing w/our own equipment and it still came out to be about $10,000 for a 3 acre field. Any kind of solid fencing (board, no climb) is going to be literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for 120 acres.
Last edited by SMF11; Mar. 24, 2009 at 10:33 AM.
Reason: add more info
All my crop feilds are fenced including hay feilds I graze them between crop rotations and or after harvest in the fall we graze hay feilds when they go dormant. We have a neighbor that raises Boer goats he has 50 to 60 does and says high tensile works great for them he uses two strands and keeps it hot.
That must make the difference. The one place I know (where I purchased my goats) had high tensile and it didn't keep them in at all. They had goats everywhere. But it wasn't hot.
I didn't know if the owner was going to use his hayfields for grazing. We've got cattle grazing corn stubble and whatnot here - but not all folks do that. Some keep livestock out of hayfields. I guess it all depends on how a person wants to manage their land. If he's purely hayfield and nothing else - I'd not fence it. If it's part of a rotation - I'd fence it.
I think alot depends on where your at and the type land you have as to grazing hayfeilds. Around here we have a great deal of land with small pot holes and low land in crop feilds not unusual for a 40 acre feild to have a 3 acre pot hole. After last hay cutting we turn livestock onto the hay feilds so horses and cattle will eat off the grasses in the low lands. Works really well on alfalfa feilds with horses, they would much rather eat grasses over live growing alflafa. Once the grass is gleaned off we pull them off the land so the alfalfa doesn't winter kill.
I prefer no-climb also, but place a board on the bottom, too. Keeps the wire tight and helps stop horses from getting a leg under.
Would also suggest hot wiring somewhere in the middle...around eye height for the cows. It's best to train them to stay away from the fence, period. Will help with the goats as well. Them little buggers will climb anything.
I love the equitee system. very safe and fairly economical
Although I must admit we used welded wire instead of non-climb for interior fences. We keep all fences hot anyway, and the welded wire is cheaper but gives a good goat and horse barrier like the nonclimb.