What is The Best Fence to Build?

I firmly believe that high tensile electric fencing is the best fence to build for most fencing needs.

If I can avoid it, I’ll never build another barbed wire fence!

Photo of High Tensile Electric Fence

It costs much less than other fencing options. A 1,320-foot roll of Red Brand 4-point, 12.5-gauge barbed wire is about $120 where I live. That breaks down to $.09 per foot. A roll of 12.5-gauge high tensile wire is $160 for 4000 feet or $.04 per foot.

Now, I understand that a lot of you might be saying, “but you also have to buy insulators and strainers,” which is absolutely true.

The end insulators I use cost $1.44 each, I use 8 on each fence, $11.52.

My line insulators are $.48 each. I use 4 per post, so that’s $1.92 per post. There are 45 steel t-posts in this fence, which comes to $86.40. That comes to 97.92 in insulators.

The strainers are $3.59 each. I have 7 in the fence, so that comes to $25.13. The insulators and strainers are additional costs ($123.05) that I wouldn’t have with barbed wire.

However, I also use about 1/3 fewer, at worst, steel t-posts than I would with a barbed wire fence. The best price for 6’ t-posts right now in my area is $5 per post. Now, these posts are obviously older posts that I had pulled out of an old fence, but for the sake of calculating costs, we’re going to pretend they’re new. As I said before, I have 45 t posts in this fence, which comes to $225.

black cow and baby in a pasture with new electric fence

I build electric fences the way I do (7 strands, 4 hot, 3 not) because the same fence will hold pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. The animal has to be pretty ornery to get out of this fence because it will bite them in the form of an electrical shock if they touch it. As a kid, I’ve watched cattle stick their heads through a barbed wire fence and pull a post out of the ground just so they could step over to the other side. I’ve watched goats climb fences to get over them. And pigs, they can just tear up anything they want if they put enough pressure on it. I’ve never had a pig tear down an electric fence because they were using it to scratch their back or leaning on it.

The best thing about electric fence (In my opinion)

Probably my favorite thing about electric fences is that, having them around the perimeter of my property allows me to pull a temporary fence from anywhere. I can divide my pastures pretty much any way I want with a reel of poly wire and some tread in posts. This allows me to be much more efficient when it comes to managing the forage that the animals have access to.

Andrew Bryan
Andrew Bryan

Andrew is a 7th generation Missouri farmer and the 4th generation to live on and farm the property that is Plane View Farm. After being left vacant for about 15 years, Andrew purchased the property from family and set about the task of renovating the house originally built by his grandparents and restoring the pastures to their former glory.