Ever got that dreaded telephone call when you are at work or maybe on holidays? “Hey, mate, your cows are on the road!” Or an unhappy neighbour, “Sorry to bother you but your sheep are in my veggie patch!” Sound familiar? Well it’s time to stop sitting on the fence and build some new ones.
This article first appeared in Adelaide Hills Magazine Winter 2016.
Many people buy a property in the Adelaide Hills for the lifestyle – the dream. But to enjoy the dream and not annoy your neighbours (which often goes hand in hand), even a small acreage requires constant maintenance, and in particular, fence work. Our wet Hills winters and harsh Australian summers can wreak havoc on fences. Whether the fence is used to keep in livestock or to indicate a property boundary, there are different types of fences used for different situations.
What type of fence will you need?
Some things to think about when constructing a fence (or doctoring up an existing fenceline) are the terrain, climate and the purpose of the fence. Different materials may need to be used, for example, different livestock, such as cattle, sheep, alpacas and horses, can require different fencing. The first thing to do is talk to a professional – the right advice will save you time and money. While there are many different styles of fencing, here I am focusing on rural fencing for the ‘lifestyler’. A rural fence is usually made up of posts and wire. Post materials can be treated pine (Permapine or cca), Creasote-treated pine, steel or pvc-style products. There are various types of wire that can be used.
Here are some commonly used rural fences.
Plain wire fence
This type of fence is the cheapest. The number of strands of wire will depend on the purpose of the fence, eg, the type of stock you are trying to keep in. You can use any of the above posts to construct this fence. It works best used together with electrics.
Barbed wire fence
Some people prefer to use barbed wire instead of electric so that they don’t need to worry about it shorting out and not being effective. This is particularly useful when keeping in animals such as cattle. Barbed wire can also be used in connection with plain wire.
Practically any fence can be made electric for particularly hard to contain livestock. Electric fences are usually used in conjunction with standard fences. On it’s own, an electric fence can also make a good temporary fence, for example for strip grazing paddocks.
Ring or stock lock-style wire fence
This is the most commonly used fence. You can purchase this wire in many different dimensions and heights and it is usually topped with either plain, barbed, sighter wire or electric wire, so that livestock don’t crush it out of shape. This type of fence is constructed with wood or steel pickets or both. Smaller animals may require this type of wire to keep them, in such as a dog yard. It is also suited to cattle, sheep and alpacas and is a preferred boundary fence.
Sighter wire fence
Horse owners are well aware of the problems and the damage a horse can do to both themselves and the fence if they run into it. A product has been designed called Horsesighter wire to improve the visibility of the fence and comes with many different choices of products. This wire can be made of plastic, pvc, polyethylene and braided ropes and is normally only used as a top wire as it is more expensive than other wires.
Post and rail fences
A post and rail fence normally uses wooden posts and rails, and depending on the number of rails, you may require plain wire in between. The number of posts, rails and strands of wire will depend on the reason for the fence, such as on a driveway for aesthetics, or to keep certain stock in, and terrain. This type is especially good for horses and arenas as they are less likely to damage themselves on it.
This is a form of fencing that is useful for keeping out rabbits or for a chicken pen. It comes in a variety of heights, mesh spacings and wire diameters, depending on the purpose.
And then there are the gates but that is a whole other topic in itself…
As you can see, there are no set rules with fencing – there is a style of fence to suit everyone’s needs and budget, with an endless range of products available. Many of the above fences can be interchangeable or stand alone. It can all get very confusing to someone just starting out. To find out which fence would best suit your needs, seek advice from the experts whether a rural supplies store, fencing contractor or give me a call at Farm Gate Services.
As we say in the business “Good fences make for good neighbours!”
Do you have fences in need of repair or wish to put in new fence lines to divide up paddocks or to keep in difficult to contain livestock. Contact us at Farm Gate Services today for some friendly advice or a free quote.