With the warmer weather, everyone is starting to stir around
and work on those spring projects. Among those projects, fence
construction and repair seems to be high on cattle producers'
lists. The questions I get frequently are "Is there a better
way to build a fence? What is the deal with high tensile wire
High tensile wire fencing can be a better way to build a fence.
In most cases it is faster to install, less expensive, and easier
to repair than conventional barb or woven wire fences. There are
some differences in the construction techniques for high tensile
wire fencing that must be mastered to reap the benefits. Among
the advantages is the opportunity to long span the fence between
posts requiring fewer posts. Asking someone who has been successful
with high tensile fence in a great place to start. I have had
the opportunity to talk to several producers and university researchers
about their experience. The following are some pointers they shared.
- Use 12 1/2 gauge high tensile wire that is available in breaking
strengths from 130,000 to 265,000 psi. The lower tensile strength
wire is easier to work with, while the very high tends to be
brittle and not easily handled. The 180,000 210,000 psi
tensile strength wires are preferred as good compromises for
fence durability and handling.
- Solid corner posts and gate posts are another key to success.
High tensile wire fences tend to have more pressure on the post
than other types. Driven post, floating braces, and multiple
post corners are among the techniques that have been successful.
- Buy or build the gadgets BEFORE you start! A spinning reel;
compression sleeves and tool, or wire tie pliers are among the
things you need to start. One producer relayed his experience:
"I was going to save some money by doing without a spinning
reel. After cutting the retaining straps on the wire spool,
I had the biggest SLINKY you ever saw with no hope of untangling
- Once the wire is stretched between the primary corner posts,
then look at where you need other posts to support the fence.
Long spans with fence stays will hold up to deer pressure better
than short spans. The fence will give, then snap back into position,
when deer hit it.
- Design the fence to be electrified, even if you are not planning
to electrify it initially you have the flexibility later. Most
of the accessories available for construction are designed for
- On parameter and multi-strand division fences, alternating
electrified and grounded wires, starting with the top wire electrified,
helps deter animals even in dry conditions.
- Grounding of the fence charger and the lightening protection
system on separate systems is very important. The fence charger
should have at least three 6-foot long ground rods driven into
the ground 10 feet apart. The lightening protection system should
be as good as, or better than, the charger grounding.
These are just of few of the advantages and ideas that experienced
high tensile wire fencers will share with anyone interested in
making the change.