• Georgie Smith

Avoid the Most Common Cattle Fencing Mistakes

A little foresight goes a long ways toward avoiding the most common mistakes farmers and ranchers make when installing their cattle fencing.

Fencing your cattle ranch is a significant investment in money and time. Yet insufficient fencing can lead to headaches of escaped or missing stock, cattle getting into areas they shouldn’t be, and, worst-case scenario, an injury to your livestock or humans.

Rather than pay later to rectify mistakes, take our word for it and avoid these most common cattle fencing mistakes from the get-go.

Poor Fence-Line Planning

Before installing fencing on your farm, take some time to think through your property and future growth. Having a plan for your ultimate goal will prevent putting fence lines in the wrong spot you’ll end up having to remove.

Your fence line doesn’t have to go in a straight line. It can follow natural land contours or swing around areas you want to fence off (like a grove of trees or a pond). Look at fencing on other farms. Seeing what the neighbors did that you like (or don’t like) will help when it comes time to start building your fencing.

Think about where you’ll place your gates. Since gates are a significant expense in the fencing building process, make sure to put them in the best access spots and where you need (and will use) them.

Weak Fence Corners

Weak and inadequate fence corners the number one cause of a fence failing, whether it is an electrified system or not.

Fence corners are the point where all the tension of the wire gets pulled from. If the corner posts are not big enough, not placed deep enough or adequately braced, the whole system will sag and fail. Make sure your posts are buried deep! One rule of thumb is to the depth in the ground of your corner posts should be equal to (or greater than) the height of the top wire.

The size of the corner posts (most ranchers prefer wood corner posts) depends on how many strands of wire. A one or two-wire pasture divider only needs a four to five-inch post. But a five-strand barbed wire or four-strand high tensile should have a six to seven-inch diameter corner post.

Brace your corner posts. There are several different methods of doing that, from a simple “H” style brace to a “floating brace” system popular for electrified systems.

Not the Right Distance Between Fence Posts

Another common mistake is either too much —or not enough — space between fence posts (depending on the system you use).

Barbed wire fencing needs closer fence posts, the rule of thumb is 16 feet. But for electrified high-tensile systems, posts tha