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Here’s the Impact of Fencing and Planning on Grazing Days and Profitability

By   /  January 27, 2020  /  3 Comments

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In November I shared thoughts on the economic importance of stockpiling grass. In that article, I ma
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About the author

Tom, along with his wife Jan, started raising & direct marketing hogs, sheep, cattle, turkeys, & chickens in 1999, the same year they completed a Holistic Management course. Their operation slowly morphed into custom grazing cattle on rented land and Tom’s passion for managing grass grew in the process. Tom & Jan completed the Ranching for Profit school in 2003 and found the ‘missing piece’. Since then, Jan has fulfilled her dream of being a nurse & Tom is currently the Production Manager of a ranch in north east British Columbia.


  1. Paul Nehring says:

    water valves -99.90
    Poly Pipe for Waterline -1,574.75
    3/4 Quick coupler valves -346.90
    Hose clamps -68.67
    Insert Tee -16.35
    Insert elbow -2.07
    Insert elbow -0.69
    Insert coupling -4.32
    Insert male adapter -1.74
    Insert Tee -1.18
    Valves -56.97
    Yard hydrant -59.99
    Poly pipe -92.98
    Insert Tee for waterline -19.62

    Waterline total -2,346.13

    Barbed fence staples -74.00
    Bullnose insulators -88.00
    Cedar posts -359.60
    Cedar Posts -314.65
    cutout switch -13.50
    Energizer -785.00
    fence signs -7.50
    Gate handles -267.30
    High tensile wire -1,342.00
    High tensile wire -89.95
    Insulated wire -188.00
    labor 180 @ $13.00/hour -2340
    Lag pulley for fence -19.47
    on/off switch -15.00
    Pasture Pro post 54″ -930.60
    Pasture Pro post 66″ -2,015.50
    poly pipe for underground wire protection -129.98
    Post clips -112.00
    Post pounding -509.20
    Postage -101.25
    Rope for gates -376.00
    Sales Tax -295.78
    screws for fence insulators -15.98
    Splices -22.34
    strainers -208.00
    wood post insulators -86.40
    Total -10,707.00

    This, again was for 57 acres. 4 wire exterior on two sections, with 2 wire interiors.

    Does not include Winter Water system, which I included in my $15,000 figure, from previous comments.

    • Tom Krawiec says:

      Thx for your interest Paul. I should first point out that before a project is started, it’s efficacy is investigated. If the project will not pay for itself with increased revenue or decreased expenses in one year, it rarely happens. This attitude comes from my days as a custom grazier and training I received from Ranching for Profit. Now to your request.
      The following is the material list I ordered for the project. This is from an Excel Template I built. As you can see it did not paste perfectly.

      Fly By Night Ranching
      New Fence Materials Estimate
      5,291m of new fence
      Item Quantity Price SubTotal
      4-5″ posts X 7′ 327 $7.75 $2,534
      5-6″ posts X 8′ 24 $13.25 $321
      high tensile (meter) 10582 $0.16 $1,693
      insulators 726 $0.38 $276
      dry wall screws 1453 $0.02 $29
      tensioners 24 $6.00 $145
      gate handles 48 $9.25 $448
      Materials $5,446
      Cost Per Meter $1.03
      (Note: I did put in a cost for gate handles even though we build our own. I lie to see the savings because our home built ones cost less than $2 and do not break the first time an animal goes through a gate.)

      Here is my standardized template for building fence. It has been developed to make my life easy because labour always seems to be my greatest limiting factor. Early in my career, I realized that if everything was set up so a 12yr old could do it, ranching would be pretty easy. I often tell people they should try to ranch like a 12yr old. I’m always looking for ways to decrease my work not find more work, so anytime I hear someone say, “Oh it doesn’t take me very long”, my hackles go up. It is difficult to grow your business when you have a lot of tasks that ‘don’t take very long’! The reason I mention my mindset on this issue, is because I know many people will disagree with some of my fencing protocol. As an example, you mentioned that you should have only put one strand internal fence. I have gone to two strand because when grazing yearlings with one strand, regularly there would be one or two head in the wrong paddock. It would take 20-45min to get the animals back to the herd. Add that 30min up over 5-6herds over the course of a season and that is a lot of labour. Since I went to two strands rarely am I going to gather animals from another paddock.
      Fly By Night Ranching:
      Building Electric Fence
      1) Use 8’ X 5-6” pressure treated posts as end posts & gates pounded half way into the ground. Build gates 21’ wide.
      2) Use 7’ X 4-5” pressure treated posts as line posts pounded 3’ into the ground spaced 60’ apart.
      3) Install two high tensile wires placed at 45” and 28”.
      4) To tie off at the end post, use three insulators positioned so the wire does not contact the post. It is easiest if only one screw is installed in the side insulators so they can be turned when threading the wire. When making the final tie, do it as close to the post as possible and make 10-12 wraps. 10-12 wraps will hold when a moose or elk hit the wire at full speed.
      5) Tie the two wires together using a short piece of high tensile on the side where the flow of power begins. This will make the two wires act as one wire in relation to the flow of electricity.
      6) Place a tensioner on each wire 10’ from the end post where the electricity begins
      7) When installing a cutout switch, place the switch on the first post of the ‘fence leg’, not on the main line fence. Use double insulated wire for the tie in’s.
      8) Cut or break off all wire ‘tails’. Tail is good in the bedroom not when you’re fencing! This will help prevent shorts.
      9) Use double insulated wire & L-clamps when joining two sections of fence.
      10) Gate handles: cut 18” of insulated wire, tie a bow in the middle, strip 1.5” at each end, and then bend one end into a hook, the other into a circle. Cut bungee cord 2/3rds of the gate width.
      Supplies (buy PFI when possible because they are very good but half the price):
      -12 gauge hi-tensile wire -claw insulator
      -12 gauge double insulated wire -Kencove or Stafix single throw cut-out switch
      -Kencove electric bungee cord for gates -Kiwi or Daisy Online tightener

  2. Paul Nehring says:

    Even with the numbers you budgeted for the extra land and fence make sense in terms of reducing feed cost. You did nice job laying out your calculations for all of us to make sense of them. No doubt, there was a lot of hard work involved, executing the fencing plan–been there, done that, in a hurry to keep ahead of the cattle. Bonus earned and deserved, or at least some loyalty/job security from the owners.

    Can you layout, roughly, your fence/water expense? The last fence I built, in 2015, was on 57 acres, and was a bit complex, in that I had to completely fence off two neighboring sections with 4 wire fence to meet state law requirements. I also added double wire interior split fences–should have gone with single wire, but was leaving the option open for sheep. Water system was black poly pipe with spigots about every 150 feet. Total cost of the system on that 57 acres, including my labor valued at $13/hr, was just over $15,000. I even re-purposed some high-tensile fence from a previous fence job. I tracked every expense, thoroughly, including my time.

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