Lesson 3. Fencing Systems — Appendix A

Permanent Fencing Costs for Cattle and Sheep

M.V. Rudstrom, West Central Experiment Station

Fencing represents a substantial investment in moving from confinement or continuous grazing systems to a rotational grazing system. The fencing can be either permanent fencing or temporary fencing. Generally, the permanent fencing surrounds the perimeter of the pastures or property while temporary fencing is used to divide pastures into smaller paddocks that are intensively grazed. Permanent fencing around the perimeter of pastures or property functions to keep animals in the pasture and deter predators from entering the pasture.

There are many different types of posts, wire, insulators, and energizers available for construction of permanent fencing. Keep in mind that where you save on materials you usually lose on annual repairs. That is, lower quality materials generally means higher annual repair costs. A well-constructed fence can have a life of 30 years with minimal annual repairs.

The costs presented are based on fence construction materials (retail price) used at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN. (Costs change regularly and this page has become quickly out of date; we have included it to give you a format for calculating fencing costs.) Costs for your farm may vary depending on the materials that you use. The budgets are for materials and equipment only. Labor costs are not included. Generally labor cost will equal the material costs. The costs are based on a mile of fencing.


Line Posts: 4” x 6’ wood posts or fiberglass posts. They are placed 33 feet apart for sheep and 25 feet apart for cattle. For example, for sheep place wooden line posts every 99 feet with 2 fiberglass posts in between equally spaced. Wooden line posts can be spaced every 100 feet with fiberglass posts placed between them.

Corner Posts: 6” x 8’ wood posts. Even if fiberglass posts are used, wooden corners are recommended for strength.

High Tensile Wire: 7 wires are used for sheep and 3 wires are used for cattle.

Insulators: All wires are attached to posts with insulators. Usually only 2 wires are hot or charged with the electrical impulses. Insulating all wires maintains the flexibility of making more wires hot if necessary.

Energizer: 12 joule fencer is used to energize the fence. This should be adequate to energize 24,000 feet (4.5 miles) of sheep fencing or 48,000 feet (9 miles) of cattle fencing.

Miscellaneous Items: Gates, springs and strainers, jump wires

Equipment: Post digger for corner posts and wooden line posts, hammer, high tensile wire cutters.

Permanent Fencing for Beef or Dairy Cattle

Cost per Unit Number per Mile Cost per Mile
Wood Line Posts $4.50 211 $949.50
Fiberglass Line Posts $1.00 211 $211.00
Corner Posts $5.50 10 $55.00
Insulators for Wood Line Posts $0.15 1055 $158.25
Fiberglass Post Clips $0.10 1055 $105.50
High Tensile Wire $0.01 per foot 26,400 $264.00
Tension Springs $5.00 30 $150.00
Tension Strainers $3.50 5 $17.50
Jump Wires $3.00 5 $15.00
Gate $75.00 1 $75.00
Energizer $350.00 0.11 $38.50
Total Cost — Wood Line Posts $1722.75
Total Cost — Fiberglass Line Posts $931.00

One mile equals 5,280 feet

Permanent Fencing for Sheep

Cost per Unit Number per Mile Cost per Mile
Wood Line Posts $4.50 160 $720.00
Fiberglass Line Posts $1.00 160 $160.00
Corner Posts $5.50 10 $55.00
Insulators for Wood Line Posts $0.15 1120 $168.00
Fiberglass Post Clips $0.10 1120 $112.00
High Tensile Wire $0.01 per foot 37000 $370.00
Tension Springs $5.00 42 $210.00
Tension Strainers $3.50 7 $24.50
Jump Wires $3.00 5 $15.00
Gate $75.00 1 $75.00
Energizer $350.00 .22 $77.00
Total Cost — Wood Line Posts $1714.50
Total Cost — Fiberglass Line Posts $1098.50

One mile equals 5,280 feet