[Posted on April 19th, 2013 by Aaron Presley]
High quality ranch fencing not only looks good but, more importantly, keeps livestock under control and in the proper pasture rather than trespassing on neighboring property.
Quality ranch fencing not only keeps your livestock from damaging neighbors crops or mixing with other livestock, it also limits liability. Livestock on roads can cause accidents leading to damages or even injuries or fatalities. For these reasons, maintaining the best fences possible is critical to a ranch operation. This is often a struggle against the stresses that damage ranch fencing.
The biggest stress is commonly the animals contained within the fence. It would seem that most cattle and horses truly believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Animals leaning on the fence to grab that best mouthful of grass put a tremendous strain on ranch fencing. This can lead to stretched wires that sag or even broken wires in extreme cases. Fence posts can be bent or broken as well.
Animals also like to rub on fencing. This is often their best way of scratching what itches and can occur in response to insect stings and bites. This can also stress the wires and posts of any ranch fencing.
A variety of weather factors can place stresses on ranch fencing. The deep snow of northern climates or climates found at higher elevations places a downward pressure on the fencing. This can become more severe in the spring of the year. Snow sometimes forms an icy crust as it starts to melt. If that ice forms around the wires as the snow below melts the weight of the ice can break or stretch the wires.
Wet conditions, after heavy rains or spring snow melts, can loosen fence posts. These posts are then more susceptible to additional stresses of livestock.
Weather can also lead to decay of wooden fence posts over time. This is more pronounced in areas where wet soil conditions exist for long periods. This can lead to posts failing sooner than posts used in fences where conditions are dryer.
Fence with the Best
Avoiding stress on ranch fencing is impossible. Cattle and horses will lean on the fence and scratch the occasional itch. Snow and rain are also impossible to avoid. For these reasons, the best quality ranch fencing is critical.
Start with fence posts of sufficient size for ranch livestock fencing. Set the posts at the best depth in the ground for the soil type. The local county extension office may have information. Corner posts and other posts that anchor portions of the fence line should be cemented into the ground for added strength. Place line posts, the fence posts along the main portions of the fence, at a reasonable distance. Look at quality fences in the area and use a similar spacing. Skimping on the number of posts increases the space between posts and the amount of strain on the wires.
Use the heaviest gauge wire possible for the fencing. Look for a quality wire with a high tensile strength. Barbed wire is often used for cattle fencing but not recommended for horse fencing. Whatever wire is used, place the strands close enough to discourage the animals from trying to reach through the fence. Place the top wire at a height that makes it difficult for any livestock to lean across. This can help reduce the amount of livestock strain on the fencing.
It is essential to have quality ranch fencing in order to maintain the success of your ranch and ensure the safety of any animals that may reside on your ranch.