Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August corn & fencing for the 2nd time.

58 acres of 10' tall green goodness
 The last two weeks have been very busy; put up about 2100' of perimeter fence and 15 gates at various places; stuff I did 7 or 8 years ago and doing it again. 

The first time I fenced I did so with field fence; purchased roll-ends off of craigslist, mostly from highway fencing projects.  That fence lasted for a  year or so, and in some areas I chose to do woven-wire fence, mostly on the recommendation of various horse owners.  While it may be popular with them because horses can't kill themselves with it, it's not very good for areas that get a lot of traffic, or particularly good with pigs.  It did last for 2 years. 

For high traffic areas, or areas where we'd be using the tractor to feed, I finally settled on a board fence. Not because it was cheap, but because you could repair it easily.  6x6 posts on 8' centers allowed you to pop off a broken board and replace it in a couple of minutes.  8' centers meant you could just buy a new board without having to cut it or measure; just knock the old one off and nail the new one on.  I'm still fond of that sort of fence, and I'll be building some of that here. 

The biggest lesson I learned while I was fencing is that you can never have a gate that is too large.  On this project my man-gates are 4' or 8' wide, depending on their use.  The minimum gate opening for everywhere else is 12', with most gates being 14 or 16' gates.   For the driveways I used smaller gates hung in pairs; a 16' driveway gets 2 8' gates, for instance.  a 24' driveway gets 2 12' gates. 

I hang pairs of smaller gates because with a 6x6 post and enough concrete I can have the gate hang and swing properly without having either a wheel on the end of the gate or an overhead arch.  I learned that while arches are good, having anything overhead of a gate opening can be a problem, so for this project there are no overhead obstructions, anywhere. 

the default wood post for this project is 6x6 treated posts.  They last forever, and they are tough enough that they can take a hit from a tractor or implement and not break in half.  Yes, you don't plan on hitting your fence with your tractor, or your gate post, but it does happen. 
I must say, modern methods are pretty impressive.  No weeds. None
 I'm spending the time and money it takes to build a good fence because I learned that a good fence, and good holding areas, allow you to sleep at night.  Having a secure area to put a balky pig or cow means that you can put the animal away while you deal with other things.  For the holding areas that I've got now I'm installing automatic waterers with a trough backup for cold weather use.  I don't know when I'll need the corral, but when you do you'll need it ready to go. 

I'm working hard during the heat of august because it's so much more pleasant to do fencing when its sunny and 80 degrees than it is in the pouring rain.  We've got 7 months of rain and cold coming, but it's a matter of choosing where you'll be working when the rain starts.  I have plenty of building-related projects to do, that I can do under a roof, and those will be the ones that I'll switch to after the fencing is done. 

The high tensile fence that I'm installing now is being set up to be electric, and that will be the final touch.  I've been looking at voltage-indicating chargers, that show the load on the fence, and I'll be testing them to see if they work for me.  It would be nice to have a display that I could look at to tell whether the fenceline needs to be cleared, or is grounded out. 

The dogs respect the wall-of-corn boundary. 

1 comment:

EBrown said...

I'm working my way through a bunch of your blog posts right now, and haven't read the most recent ones since I'm trying to do so chronologically... but I can tell when my fencer is grounded out by the tone of the click it makes. It doesn't take much loss change the click.