6 Tips to Building a Long-Lasting Fence

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Pasture Management’s commitment to strong fences that last longer, keep animals contained, and keep everyone around them safe runs deep in the company. Nothing is more stressful than falling behind on work because you had to stop and fix a fence that failed to keep your livestock enclosed and safe or keep pests out of a certain area on your property. In order to build a long-lasting fence, there are six essential tips to keep in mind.

Tip #1: Have high tensile wire fencing

At the top of our list is a fence manufactured from high tensile steel. A high tensile fence product, like Pasture Management’s fixed knot wire, is harder for livestock to break through. This is because it has a higher carbon content. Woven, barbed, and smooth high tensile fence wire is able to be pulled tight and will not sag over time like low carbon (low tensile) fence wire will. When a fence begins to sag, it makes it easier for livestock to get through the fence. High tensile wire allows only 4% of stretch after it is pulled tight, whereas low-tensile wire allows 14% of stretch. Because low tensile stretches more, it requires more line posts to be driven, more maintenance over time, and will sag more than the high-tensile fence wire products.

Tip #2: Choose Class 3 galvanized wire

Our second tip is to choose a Class 3 galvanized wire. The zinc coating applied to the wire is what protects the steel from rusting over time. No matter how strong the wire is, without a zinc coating, it is no match for the natural elements it will have to face. When the fence starts to rust, the wires become fragile and will start to snap. There are three primary levels of zinc coatings in the United States.

  • Commercial: This coating will start to show signs of rust in about six months.

  • Class 1: This coating starts to show rust in about four years.

  • Class 3: This coating has 20+ years of rust prevention.

All fence wire products in the Pasture Management brand are coated to the Class 3 specification. Our high tensile, Class 3 fence wires carry a 20-year warranty. Most wire products sold by national farm stores are only class 1 galvanized wire and begin to rust within the four-year time bracket. For superior rust prevention, even after the harsh winter months, choose a class 3 galvanized wire to keep your livestock fenced in.

Tip #3: Build Strong Braces

Next, we recommend building the strongest braces you can.Even if you install the strongest fence wire there is, the fence will not hold up without well-built braces and corners. The braces and corners are what gives the fence superior structural integrity. Braces help to keep the fence stable and also hold the pressure from tensioning the wire. Using too small of posts in your braces makes it easier for livestock or any other blunt force to push down the fence. The bigger the fence post diameter and the longer the length is, the stronger the brace is. Using Pasture Management’s 6-7 in. x 8 ft. or 7-8 in. x 8 ft. wood posts for your corner and end posts and our 10ft galvanized pipe for the H-Beam post on your braces will increase the strength of your fence. The 2-3/8" diameter, 14 gauge pipe will last longer and provide more support than your traditional 5 in.x 10 ft. wooden H-Beam post.

Tip #4: Use Bigger Line Posts

Next, we recommend driving bigger wood posts for your line posts. While T-Posts or smaller diameter (3-4 in. or 4-5 in.) wood posts work for some types of fence wire; they are not ideal for our stronger, longer-lasting types of fence wire like Fixed Knot or High Tensile Horse, Sheep & Goat Fence. Using the stronger 5-6 in. wood posts in your fence line will allow you to space your posts an extra 5 ft. apart. While a bigger post might cost a little more, you will purchase fewer of them so your total material cost decreases. Having fewer posts to drive means less time and labor which also lowers your expenses.

Tip #5: Add “Hot Wires” to your Fence

When you have livestock contained in a small area, they tend to lean on the fence. That added pressure is not good for your fence, even if you are using our fixed knot wire product. The more they push, the weaker the fence becomes. By adding an electric fence (hot wires), you create a mental barrier for the livestock that will teach them not to lean on the fence. This increases the lifespan of your fence. By adding 12.5 gauge high tensile wire, a reliable energizer, and good insulators to your fence, you add a mental barrier to the physical barrier the main fence provides. For the best results, we recommend adding one electric wire at the top of your fence, and an “offset wire” about halfway up your fence with one of our offset/outrigger/extender insulators.

Tip #6: Hang a Heavier Gate

When livestock runs into a gate, it will bend under pressure if it is an ultra-lightweight rounded corner gate, which is, unfortunately, the only kind of gate you can find at national big box stores. Heavier and stronger gates, like those made by Pasture Management, are made to withstand pressure. The strong square frame, heavier steel, and larger hardware are what make our gates more reliable.

If you use these tips, you are sure to have a sturdy and long-lasting fence. The more reliable your fence is, the more time you can put toward focusing on other priorities.