Planning to Build a Barbed Wire Fence

Photo: B4bees/flickrBarbed wire is the type of fencing commonly used on farms to confine livestock and keep valuable animals safe from predators, motor vehicles, deep water, and other hazards. Good quality barb wire fencing will last as long as 25 years, which helps to justify its relatively high price tag and the fact that it is one of the most difficult fences to install. Before ordering this type of fence, do your advance planning in order to know exactly what you want and have a good idea of its cost.

Map Your Property

Start with an accurate map of your land so that you can determine exactly where to install your barbed wire fence and calculate the quantity of fencing material that will be needed. Obtain an aerial map from your local Agricultural Extension Service. Alternatively, use convenient Internet tools such as Google Earth and the various online farm mapping websites. Carefully identify your property line's location so that you will know where to construct the perimeter fence.

Clarify Your Purpose

The next step is clarifying your planned land use. Assign areas of your property for pasturage, hay, and crops and add these to your map. Which types of animals will you be grazing? Not only their size, but also their ability to jump, will determine the height and strength of the barbed wire fence to install. In addition, your local winter climate is a consideration, since a heavy snowfall may enable animals to simply climb over a fence that is too low.

If you have a bull on your land, you will need a "high security," heavy-duty enclosure to keep him separate from your cows. Swine fencing must be strong and installed close to the ground, in order to prevent rooting. The use of barbed wire fencing is not advisable for horse pastures because it can damage the animals' hide.

Specifics of the Fence Construction

Based on your land use plan, decide where to install cross fencing. Take into consideration the location of any water sources, such as ponds or streams. Decide where to place lanes and gates. Once this has been done, you will be ready to plan your post placement and spacing. Make an effort to keep lines as straight as possible; this requires the smallest amount of fencing materials and is the least expensive method. What is more, it will ensure less stress on the fencing and extend its life. The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes detailed construction specifications to help you plan your barbed wire fence installation.

Barbed Wire Fence Cost

The government of Manitoba, Canada has issued a handy calculator that is useful in estimating the cost of barbed wire fence installation. The prices of labor and materials will vary according to factors such as your choice of 2- or 4-barb wire, the number of strands, standard or suspension (high tension) fencing, and the number of line posts and corner assemblies. If it is to be built as a boundary fence, the cost is normally shared with the neighboring property owners. The USDA may also be approached for a contribution toward the expense.

Find a professional fencing contractor to install your barbed wire fence.

Laura Firszt writes for

Updated October 19, 2918.

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