A major limiting factor for beef production in Ontario is the lack of fencing. With the spread of cash cropping across the province in recent years, perimeter fencing has been removed on many farms. Establishing, or re-establishing fencing is one of the first steps to getting into cattle farming.
Good perimeter fences are necessary for keeping cattle where you want them. Perimeter fencing maintains good neighbor relations and safe cattle, while interior fencing, subdividing fields, allows for increased pasture management.
There are many fencing options available: page wire, barb wire, and electric being three common types in Ontario. OMAFRA has developed a calculator tool, allowing you to enter costs on six different fencing systems. We also have a fact sheet that compares five types of fencing and their costs. Both comparisons indicate that electric fencing is the least expensive and most effective fencing system on the market. It is quicker to build and requires less labour and materials. Once properly trained, cattle show respect for the fence, and will usually not bother to challenge it.
Some things to consider when building a fence include:
- What distance will you be fencing?
- What type of livestock?
- Cow calf
- Is it perimeter or internal fencing?
Electric fencing can be a very effective tool. It is easy to install, is generally the most economical method, and as long as it’s got the right power it is extremely good at keeping livestock contained.
To use the calculator included with the article, you can input your own numbers in any cell with blue font. Or you can use the existing data to compare systems. To read the factsheet go to: Farm Fencing Systems
With spring upon us, many farmers will be looking to replace existing fences or build new ones. Use the OMAFRA calculator and factsheet to help you, and this job will be a lot easier and cost less. Fencing Systems Costing Worksheet