Types of Fence on the Farm

Learn All About Fencing for Your Small Farm

Old style, rustic wood post barb wire fence protecting corn field in the midwest United States
David Joel/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Fencing is one of the most important pieces of farm infrastructure. Your fence is an investment than can last many years, so you'll want to consider your needs now and in the future carefully.

Fencing can keep unwanted predators out and livestock in. Properly installed and maintained, the proper fence will save you time, frustration, money, and your relationship with your neighbors.

Farm fencing is available in a variety of materials.

Your choice will depend on:

  • purpose of the fence (what it will contain and/or keep out)
  • type of terrain it will be installed on
  • maintenance requirements
  • zoning rules (be sure to check what types of fences are allowed in your area before you begin fencing)

You will need some specialized tools for putting up and maintaining fencing, but some of them you may already have on the farm.

Barbed Wire Fencing

Barbed wire is one of the oldest fence technologies. It is effective but can be hard to work with because it will cause injury if you don't wear the proper protection. Barbed wire is illegal in some towns and subdivisions.​

Woven Wire Fencing

Woven wire fencing can be an economical, easy-to-install choice for the small farmer. Unlike electric fencing, it doesn't require a power source and energizer to keep its effectiveness. It's a good solution for permanent and perimeter fences.

High-Tensile Wire Fencing

High-tensile wire fencing is a great semi-permanent solution for many different types of livestock. It's long-lasting and very effective due to the "rubber band" effect it has - if an animal runs into it, it has some "give" and won't break.​

Electric Net Fencing

Electric net fencing is often used in pasture management, to fence temporary paddocks for goats, sheep, poultry and even cattle.

It is light and easy to move, yet very effective at keeping animals in - and predators out. The woven design gives high visibility.

Poly Tape or Poly Wire Fencing

Poly tape and poly wire are inexpensive, but short-lived solutions that can be very effective, but are best suited to temporary paddocks and interior fences. They're not as good as electric nets for keeping predators out.​

Underground Dog Fencing

Underground dog fence uses a transmitter collar and underground boundary wire connected to a transmitter box. The wire emits a radio frequency (RF) that the collar picks up. The collar beeps and/or vibrates at the edges of the wire boundary and if your dog continues to cross it, it will emit a mild static correction. These fences are "invisible" - you can't see the wire unless you zip-tie it to an existing above-ground fence. They do not prevent animals from coming into the dog's area.