There are many different kinds of fence posts that can be used on a farm, and today, we are going to look at a few of the options and the pros and cons of each kind. This should help you when you’re building a new fenced area.
What kinds of fence posts are there? You can use:
- Metal T-posts
- Treated Wooden Fence Posts
- Concrete Fence Posts
In general, the first two are more commonly used than concrete on farms, but all are worth considering so you get the best material.
Let’s explore the fence posts you can use on your farm.
1. Metal T-posts
Metal T-posts are a great option if you want something inexpensive and easy to install. However, they are not the most attractive posts on the market. They may be useful in a field that you rarely see.
They range between four and eight feet tall, which makes them useful in most situations.
- Fairly inexpensive, especially when compared with wooden posts
- Easy to install, needing minimal equipment. Just a sledgehammer will suffice
- Can be moved if you need to reorganize your land
- Last well and they are reusable
- Readily available at most farm stores
- Lighter and easier to transport and handle than traditional wooden posts
These are particularly suitable for creating boundaries that may change later, or in situations where you cannot easily get equipment to the location in order to dig posts into the ground. Because they are light, they are much easier to transport to a field where access is a problem.
They also need far less manual labor to install.
- Not aesthetically pleasing
- Need to purchase clips to attach the fencing to the post
Overall, metal T-posts are a good option unless you need the area to look attractive. They are easy to transport and install, and as long as you have a sledgehammer, you can install them with no other tools. This means fewer workers are needed to put the fencing up, and it can be erected more quickly.
2. Treated Wooden Fence Posts
A very traditional option, treated wooden fence posts are useful in many situations. Like the metal T-posts, they are easy to buy and you will find them readily available in most farm stores or from home improvement suppliers.
They are usually available in sizes between six and eight feet, so if you only need low fences, short metal T-posts may be a better solution.
- Look attractive and traditional
- Provide a uniform shape
- Last well because they are treated
- Readily available
- Reasonably easy to install, although much heavier than metal fence posts
- More expensive than metal T-posts, and can become very pricey if you want to fence a large area, may be double the price, depending on your area and the suppliers you can access
- Weigh a lot, making them challenging to transport to fields, especially if you have a lot of fencing to do
- Heavy, which makes the manual labor of installing them harder requiring more workers and equipment
- Have to dig deep holes (a couple of feet) in order to install them and keep them upright. Shallow holes will equal unstable fencing
- Heavily treated with chemicals, which may be damaging to your soil and potentially to your health
- Often difficult to move/reuse, although it may be possible, depending upon the installation method and the age of the posts
If you are unconcerned about the chemical aspect, these may be suitable for fencing small, easily accessible areas. They look nice, but they are not a cheap option.
Untreated wood is not a solution for farm fence posts, even if you bury the ends in concrete (which, in itself, is not an environmentally friendly material).
The wood will quickly rot below the surface of the ground, and this will result in the fence losing all its integrity and falling over. Indeed, concreting posts is no longer considered a good option, because it creates a pool of water.
Some fence posts are guaranteed for a certain number of years, which is something to look out for when making your buying decisions.
Learn about the different preservation methods. Some fence posts are treated with tar. Other fence posts will be pressure treated to help make the wood more durable, but this usually costs quite a lot more and could drive up the price of your fencing considerably.
3. Concrete Fence Posts
Although concrete is durable, it is less commonly used on farms, partly because its installation can be complex. However, it is an option to consider if you need long-term fencing in place and you can afford the installation costs. It is more permanent than the other options.
- Durable and strong, so ideal if you need posts that will stand up to years of wear
- Has minimal need for maintenance once the posts are in place
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Expensive and difficult to install, which means extra costs in terms of the labor
- Very environmentally damaging, so not suitable for eco-friendly farmers
- Will need to be completely replaced when it crumbles, because there is no option to maintain it
- Is not moveable or reusable in other places; these posts are fixed once they have been installed.
Concrete posts do sometimes have a place on a farm, but they are rarely preferable to the first two choices. They can be suitable for yards and other permanent structures, but they don’t allow for much flexibility. Usually, wood or metal posts are preferable.
Choosing the right material for your fence posts is crucial. Make sure that you take the time to assess the area and your fencing budget before you purchase posts.
How long the fencing needs to last, where it is, and how accessible it is will all affect which posts are the most appropriate choice.