The fencing you choose for your cattle is an important component of your operation's success. Good fencing can keep strays from wandering off, keep small calves where they belong and reduce injury to your cattle.
Before you start building fence, map out where your fencing will go. This will help you evaluate what materials you need and help you choose a type of fencing.
To make a plan for your fencing project, sketch a map of the area you want to fence. First, plot your perimeter fences, which is the fence that will be the outer boundaries for your cattle. Take into consideration any bodies of water, driveways or buildings you will need to plan around.
Plot your dividing fences. If you only have a small area to fence in, dividing fences might not be necessary but if you plan to rotate your cattle between different areas of a pasture to allow regrowth, dividing fences are a necessity. After all your fencing has been mapped out, choose locations for gates, catch pens and alleyways. When planning for gates and working areas, take into consideration how you will move cattle between locations, where you will feed, and where water will be located. If you plan to use a tractor in your cattle operation be sure to include gates wide enough for machinery to pass through.
There are many types of fencing available for cattle owners. What type of fencing works best for your operation depends on your local resources, cost and other needs.
High tensile electric fence is usually the most cost-effective method for permanent perimeter and divider fencing. Because it can be re-stretched easily and doesn't damage hides like barbed wire can, high tensile is the choice of most cattle producers.
However, there are still those who prefer barbed wire and certain circumstances make other types of fencing more affordable. For example, if you live in an area with oil fields, you might be able to pick up pipe for fencing at a reasonable price.
The type of cattle you raise will also affect what type of fencing you need. For example, if you choose to raise rodeo cattle or house a lot of bulls, you may choose to invest in highway guardrail for your fencing project.
The installation of your fence will depend on the type of fencing being used. High tensile fence is relatively simple to install on your own, which is part of the reason it is so cost-effective. Woven wire, barbed wire or electric hot wire is also relatively easy to install. If you choose an option such as pipe or guard rail, you may want to hire the job out to professionals.