Ask the readers : Fencing

This is the scene of last week’s breakout. The railroad track & trestle forms the western boundary of our property. Sugar Creek divides our pasture about in half. The fenceline down the left side of the pasture is electric, dividing the butcher calves from the cows. Then there’s an east-west fence that parallels the railroad line, crossing the creek on this side of the trestle.

When the creek floods, it usually takes the fence with it.

Or if it doesn’t wipe it out, it leaves it clogged with debris as seen in the fenceline above. If enough debris catches in it, a large portion of the fence is ripped out by the flood waters.

We’ve been flooded 3 times this year, which is more than usual. After each flood Matt’s re-strung an electric line across the creek. But last week the cows plowed through it. Of course it’s possible that with all the debris in the fenceline the electric fence was shorted out.

Matt’s ideal fence would break away when it floods without tearing away – something suspended overhead by a guy wire. But at 200 feet across, that kind of structure would be quite an undertaking.

So…how would you fence across the creek?

4 years ago:


2 years ago:


1 year ago:

Basement retrospective, part 2

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6 Responses to Ask the readers : Fencing

  1. Twinville says:

    Wow! What a challenge and so frustrating!I bet my 11 yr son with the engineering brain could come up with something, though.I’ll ask him tomorrow and get abck to you 🙂

  2. Funny you should ask – Todd just helped a friend string fence across a creek – they sunk 2 telephone poles set in concrete in the ground 5-6 feet (required a posthole digger to get it in the ground 3 feet, then a fence post pounder to get them in the ground the rest of the way) on each sice of the creek, and 1 more on each side about 8 foot back from the first post – then strung the wire across – they used high tensil, which shouldn’t break and just went with 1 or 2 strands, I’m thinking…. I’ll double check with what wire, how much, etc. And they used fencing staples and insulator tubes for attaching the wire.Kris

  3. Kramer says:

    I’m just figuring at 200′ across, I would have to spend the extra money and weld a pipe fence across using old drill stem pipe. I don’t know exactly what the creek looks like where it would go across, but I don’t know of any electric fence that would hold up to that much debris.I figure if you were just wanting the poles to stay up and the wire to break away, then go with the telephone poles, and use insulated tubing at the corners with crimps on them. That way when something big hit it and kept flowing down stream, the crimp would give way and the wire would slip off the post.But then again I know how bad I hate having to replace fencing because 1. its expensive, and 2. it is simply a waste of time. So after thinking it through, I would have to put in a pipe fence maybe with suspended panels that will hang straight down when the creek is normal but would swing up when a large log, tree, brush etc.. needs to pass through. A guy down the road from us has this and it seems to work.Good luck though.

  4. Rich says:

    Have you looked at the Powerflex Posts? are supposed to be able to bend and not break. After a flood you might have to replace the wire, but the posts should still be usable after you clean the debris away.Otherwise, I would think something like Kramer suggested would work, I was thinking something like railroad ties or oilfield pipe for posts to withstand the bending from the debris buildup.

  5. James says:

    I came across this in my Northern Tool Catalog. It is meant to be used as a drive through gate but you might be able to modify it easily. Possibly using those telephone poles were mentioned earlier.

  6. mark says:

    Kelli & Matt,A few months ago in the Farm Show periodical (that newspaper with crazy, off-the wall, and sometimes useful farm inventions) a guy strung a cable across his creek and simply hung old rusty sheet metal he had salvaged from an old roof and cut the bottoms to match the land contours. When the water came up, the sheet metal would lift up like a pet door and go back down with the water – all the debris etc. would just float underneath it. It looked ugly in the photo, but he said he tried many kinds of fences and this was the only thing that worked.

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