Estimated costs for livestock fencing
Fencing costs are one of the most expensive aspects of livestock grazing. The type of fence constructed greatly impacts the cost per foot as well as total cost of the fence. In addition, the shape of the paddocks affects the amount of materials needed and labor required for construction.
This publication compares the costs of building a 1/4-mile (1,320 feet) straight perimeter fence with woven wire, barbed wire, high-tensile non-electric, and high-tensile electrified, and temporary interior fencing.
The type of fencing selected depends on personal preference and the species of livestock to be con- fined. In general, all configurations shown can be used with cattle. In addition, woven wire and high- tensile electrified fencing can be used with sheep, and woven wire can be used with hogs.
eter cross-brace at each end. Posts between the braces are steel “T” posts alternated with 4-inch diameter pressure-treated wood posts. All posts are spaced 12 feet apart with one strand of barbed wire at the top.
Barbed wire fence Materials for the barbed wire fence (table 2) are similar to the woven wire fence except that five strands of barbed wire are substituted for the woven wire and single strand of barbed wire.
High-tensile non-electric wire fence The high-tensile non-electric fence (table 3) uses eight strands of 12.5-gauge high-tensile wire on 4- inch diameter pressure-treated wood posts. Posts are 20 feet apart. The bracing uses three 8-inch diameter posts and two 4-inch diameter cross braces on each end. Wire tension on this fence is maintained with springs and ratchet-type tensioning devices.
The list of materials needed for each type of fencing is from information developed at the University of Nebraska (see references on back page). The cost of supplies and labor in this analysis were adapted from several other publications, also listed on the back page. All costs were adjusted to 2005 prices based on information provided by a number of Iowa retailers. Labor was figured at $13.60 per hour, the average fence-building labor charge reported in the 2005 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, FM 1698. Gates were not included in any estimates.
An alternative would be to set posts 30 feet apart and place two stay rods in the wire between each set of posts. Cost would be reduced about $65 for every 1,320 feet of fence, or $0.05 per foot.
High-tensile electrified wire fence The high-tensile electrified fence (table 4) uses five strands of 12.5-gauge high-tensile wire with three charged and two grounded wires. Bracing uses three 8-inch diameter posts and two 4-inch diameter cross braces on each end. With the exception of brace posts, steel “T” posts spaced 25 feet apart are used.
Fencing can be configured in many different ways using various types of fencing materials. The ex- amples in this publication provide a general compari- son between five configurations: woven wire, barbed wire, high-tensile non-electric wire, high-tensile electrified wire, and electrified polywire.
One-quarter of the cost of an electric energizer is included in the cost of the 1,320 foot fence on the basis that such a unit would be used to energize at least a mile of fence. Wire tension on this fence is maintained with springs and ratchet-type tensioning devices.
Woven wire fence The woven wire fence (table 1) requires a brace that uses two 8-inch diameter posts and a 4-inch diam-
FM 1855 Revised July 2005