Livestock Fence Cost Calculator

Created by Oghenekaro Elem
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Based on research by
Edwards, W., & Charma, A. Estimated costs for livestock fencing University of Massachusetts Amherst (2012)
Last updated: Apr 21, 2022

The livestock fence cost calculator helps you determine the material list and cost for livestock fences. Fencing is an essential component of farm planning to protect your livestock against predators and segment your farm for efficient management.

The livestock fence calculator helps you plan toward the cost of building a fence. If you keep reading, you’ll learn about livestock fencing, how to build a livestock fence, livestock electric fence, and the agricultural fencing materials to plan your livestock fencing cost per foot.

Also, check out plant spacing calculator to calculate the proper spacing for hedgerows if you prefer them instead of a traditional fence. Other tools to help you in crop-related calculations are grain bin and corn yield calculators.

Why livestock fencing?

Fences keep unwanted animals like deer, coyotes, and wild dogs away. It limits uncontrolled movements and helps you manage your animals efficiently. You can significantly reduce your animal death rate by using the proper fences for their confinement. And if you have a pasture area or a water source nearby, investing in a suitable farm layout divided by fences can impact your livestock feed conversion ratio.

How much does livestock fencing cost?

The livestock fence cost calculator is an excellent place to start estimating the cost of building your fence because we have already provided the list of materials you'll need.

Livestock fencing companies often offer valuable information regarding the best agricultural fencing materials. But it is crucial to have an idea of what's required for your unique situation beforehand.

Types of livestock fences

Livestock fences can be grouped into two categories by their purpose:

  • Permanent fences – For long-term use and are constructed with solid agricultural fencing materials to prevent animals from breaking through. Farm areas intended to hold several animals, animals not accustomed to fences, and those that quickly get excited also need strong fencing materials.

  • Temporary fences – For short-term use and need not be constructed with expensive materials. Most temporary fences serve psychological purposes to discourage animals from accessing certain sections of the farm, e.g., electric fences. Livestock electric fences used for this purpose require more maintenance, but they are highly advantageous in prohibiting predators. Temporary fences are easily moved or rearranged in controlling animals during rotational grazing or moving from leased property.

Livestock fences get made from boards, cable, barbed wire, mesh, woven wire, electric, high-tensile wire, or a combination of these materials. The usual fence types are:

  • Woven wire fence;
  • Barbed wire fence;
  • High-tensile non-electric wire fence;
  • High-tensile electrified wire fence; and
  • Electrified polywire fence.

Types of livestock fencing materials

The livestock fencing cost per foot depends on the materials you use for your fence. An inexhaustive list of these materials are:

  1. Wires – Wires come in different grades depending on the zinc coating thickness that protects them from rusting. The more the zinc coating, the longer the life of the fence wires. Use the livestock fence cost calculator as a barb wire fence cost estimator.

  2. Fence posts – It’s essential to use decay-resistant fence posts, especially for permanent fences. They generally vary around 3–8 feet long. Posts are available in wood, plastic, steel, and fiberglass.

    Wooden posts are preferred because they resist bending, misalignment, and withdrawal, but they have different longevity when used as fence posts. So, buy well-treated wooden posts.

    Steel posts are cost-effective, weigh less, fireproof, and are easily driven into the ground. They’re not as effective against bending, so consider using them along with some wooden posts.

    Wood and steel posts require insulators to prevent short-circuiting the fence through the posts if you're using electrified wires.

    Make sure at least 30% of the fence post goes into the ground to strengthen the post, which means adding 30% to your desired fence height.

  3. Staples – If you’re using softwood for your fence posts, use galvanized staples around 2-inches long to avoid staples pulling out over time. Hardwood posts with shorter staples are less likely to pull out.

  4. Electric fence controllers – Also known as the charger or energizer, regulates the voltage and amperage of electricity to control the severity and duration of shock to animals in contact with an electric fence. Controllers get sized by the number of miles they can power. A good rule of thumb for choosing the suitable controller for your electric fence is to use the formula:

    Number of miles controller can provide power = (fence length × number of electrified wires) + 25%

    For example, if you have 4 miles of 5-strand high-tensile wire with three strands electrified, you need a controller rated for at least 15 miles: (4 miles × 3 wires = 12 miles) + 25% = 15 miles.

    Solar and battery-powered energizers are available when an electrical power source is not.

What is the best fence for cattle, sheep and goat, horses and pigs?

The best fence for your livestock is the fence that will hold in the worst-case scenario. No matter the type of material for your fence, it will be tested when animals are panicked, breeding, newly weaned, hungry or thirsty. If there are lush green crops on the opposite side of the fence, expect your animals to be more motivated to break through your fence.

Depending on the livestock, some of the best fencing materials are as follows:

  1. Sheep and goats

    Recommend: Woven wire & high-tensile electrified wire fence.

    Sheep and goats try to crawl under their fences, so it is vital to place wires low to the ground to avoid fence failure. Adding an effective electricity system can protect the animals from predators and ensure that goats become "fence-wise" quickly. Sheep’s heavy wools insulate them from electrical shocks, and barbed wires get covered in the wools. Hence a well-electrified system on the woven wire is recommended to manage them.

  2. Cattle:

    Recommend: Barbed wire & woven wire fence.

    Depending on the cattle’s temperament, you can use any fence type for confinement upon considering cost and ease of construction. Cattle try to go over fences, which means you need to provide wires above the ground to the cattle height. If you have bulls, cable, or thick-gauge, electrified polywires with heavy posts are recommended.

  3. Horses:

    Recommend: Woven wire & high-tensile non-electric wire fence.

    DO NOT use barbed wires. Horses try to run through their fences. Therefore make sure the fencing materials are obvious. And the materials don’t pose the risk of the horses getting tangled and hurting themselves. Horses tend to be unpredictable when responding to electrified fences, so consult an expert if you’re considering it.

  4. Pigs:

    Recommend: Barbed wire & Electrified polywire fence.

    Pigs try to root their way under a fence, so it’s good to build a sturdy fence low to the ground to discourage them.

Important points when building livestock fences – How do you build a livestock fence?

  1. Consider all regulations to the type of fence you want to build.
  2. Sketch your farm layout, noting exact boundary lines between properties, especially if you’re building a permanent fence.
  3. Divide the farmland into sections – pasture areas that animals can graze, cultivated areas, areas not to be grazed, water sections, etc. The segmentation will help you arrange where to place temporary fences during the season and rotational grazing after harvest.
  4. Consider the topography. The cost and difficulty of construction rise significantly with unlevelled grounds. It's also easier building straight fences, so optimize for that.
  5. Create multiple lanes the animals can use from their confinements to pasture areas. Use the driest areas for lanes that can withstand erosion and gullies upon use.
  6. Prepare your gate and corner posts. These fence posts should have a larger diameter and strength than the line posts. There is no general rule applying to all scenarios, but you can maintain a spacing of 8-12 feet and up to 20 feet apart for high-tensile wire fences.

Livestock fence maintenance to note

  • Brace gates above the ground level to avoid dragging on the ground
  • Keep weeds and bushes cleared from the fence line, especially on electric fences, so they don’t reduce the controllers’ charge.
  • Refasten loose wires and staples.
  • Keep the fence wires properly stretched.
  • Plan a regular inspection routine for regular maintenance.

FAQ

What are the type of livestock fencing materials?

Some of the livestock fencing materials are cables, barbed wire, mesh, woven wire, electric, and high-tensile steel. Use the livestock fence cost calculator to find the best materials and total cost for your fencing project.

How do I build a woven wire fence?

To build a woven wire fence:

  1. At each end of the fence, place two 8-inch diameter wooden posts, along with a 4-inch wooden post as a brace.
  2. Install alternating 4-inch pressure-treated wooden and steel "T" posts, spaced 12 feet apart.
  3. Roll out the woven wire along the fence line, staple it to the wooden posts, and clip it to the steel posts.
  4. String out one strand of barbed wire along the top of the fence.

What is the best fence for cattle?

Recommended fences for cattle are barbed wire and woven wire fences. If you have bulls in the herd, cable, or thick-gauge, electrified polywires with heavy posts are recommended.

What is the best fence for horses?

Recommended fences for horses are woven wire and high-tensile non-electric wire fences. Horses tend to run through their fences; therefore, the fencing materials must be easily visible.

What is the best fence for sheep?

Recommended fences for sheep are Woven wire, and High-tensile electrified wire fences. The sheep wool can insulate the electric shock; therefore, consider using a good electricity system when using the livestock fence cost calculator for your estimates.

How much does livestock fencing cost?

The cost of livestock fencing varies with the fence length, fencing materials, and the type of animals the fences are built for. The livestock fencing cost calculator will help your estimate the cost for your unique situation.

Oghenekaro Elem
Fence details
Fence type
Woven wire
Fence length
ft
Fence posts spacing
ft
Wood post (8-in) cost per unit
$
Wood post (4-in) cost per unit
$
Steel posts required
Staples required
Clips required
Woven wire runs
Barbed wire runs
Labor (estimated)
hrs
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