Which Field Fence Material Works Best for Cattle?

If you’ve ever had the experience of a cow running loose from your farm or ranch, then you know how important it is to choose a cattle fencing material that’s durable and long-lasting. Even if your cattle don’t get loose, it’s no secret that they’re pretty rough on fencing. That’s why it’s important to choose the right material that will keep them safely contained but also offer them plenty of room to roam.

There are two important components of fencing that’s suitable to withstand the wear and tear of cattle. There needs to be, first, a physical barrier to prevent their escape and, second, a visual (psychological) barrier to discourage them from even trying to butt the fencing or escape. But there is still the question: Which material is best?

Read on to find out what makes up the best field fence for cattle.  

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Barbed Wire

The most traditional of the bunch, this cattle fencing material stands the test of time and has been used since its invention in the late 1800s. The number of strands necessary for barbed-wire cattle fencing depends on the number of cows and how rebellious they are, but typically five strands is the recommended average. Barbed wire is a favorite among cowboys and ranchers because of its relatively low cost and simple installation — it’s often used on wide expanses of land for this very reason.

Barbed wire works as both a visual and physical barrier to your cattle, of course, but it’s also a smart security option for keeping out predators.

 The downside of barbed wire fencing is that it’s not as visually appealing as some of the alternatives. More importantly, some farmers and ranchers see it as a potential danger to innocent animals or children, who can get mistakenly tangled. If your cattle are aggressive, this isn’t the most humane fencing option, since the barbs can cause hide tears and injury.

Woven Wire

Because of the dense woven design of this fencing, there are fewer gaps; therefore, woven wire is a top-notch choice as both a visual and physical barrier. Woven wire fencing — even without an electric component — boasts the advantage of being the most secure for keeping animals safely contained and keeping predators at bay. In fact, animals can get through the woven wire fencing only if it’s already broken.

For even more protection and security, consider a strand of barbed wire wire or electric fencing along the top — about 23 inches down — to prevent cattle from leaning over the fence. Woven wire doesn’t require as much maintenance as electric fencing, which also makes it a popular choice among farmers and ranchers.

 The cons of woven wire fencing include that it’s more costly than barbed wire. It’s also more difficult to install correctly, especially on unlevel ground.

High Tensile Smooth Wire

High tensile smooth wire is most often composed of four to ten strands and can be used as an alternative to barbed wire fencing. It’s preferred by farmers and ranchers because it’s more gentle on cattle — and therefore a good option if your livestock aren’t the rebellious type. It’s also noted for a long life expectancy, since it doesn’t warp as a result of leaning cattle or  temperature changes. Just like barbed wire and woven wire, high tensile smooth wire can be used with or without an electric component.

Building the best field fence for your cattle can be time consuming, so you want to plan ahead to ensure it will meet all of your livestock and farm or ranch needs. Always research your final option before purchasing to make sure that it’s cost effective and that you feel confident about installing it yourself or hiring someone to do the job. Most of all, be sure that it’s tough enough to keep your animals safe, but gentle enough to be humane.

Check out Farm Ranch Store for all your fencing needs!

Richard WahlbergComment