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Why you need a fence

  • To denote the legal boundary of your property. This has large legal implications and a proper permanent boundary fence as defined under Fencing Law is required. The cost of this fence may be the landowner’s responsibility or the cost can be shared between neighbours.
  • To denote raceways on the farm for stock movement. Having good well-fenced races or laneways speeds up stock movement, instead of having to take them through paddocks with risks of stock getting mixed and time being wasted. Races cut down labour requirements and reduce stress on stock during movement.
  • To keep livestock in defined areas, and in particular off the public highway. For good stock management, different age groups or different sexes regularly need to be grazed separately. If stock escape on to the highway and cause damage to people or property, then the stock owner is liable unless they can prove that everything possible was done to prevent their escape.
  • For grazing control. Getting the maximum production from pasture is very much dependent on how it is grazed (ie how plants are defoliated). Farmers do this by rotational grazing, where stock graze around the farm. Good fencing protects the grazed pasture until it has recovered and grown again. Areas may be fenced to force stock (eg. goats) to eat the herbage (scrub or gorse) and avoid the use of chemical herbicides.
  • For land improvement. When land is broken in for farming, fencing is the first requirement. This is to define areas for pasture and allows control over all the agricultural operations like cultivating, fertilising and sowing needed to get the pastures established.
  • For safety. On many farms there are areas such as cliffs, bluffs, drains, and swamps that are dangerous for stock and need fencing.
  • Environmental protection and control. This is now a high priority as part of the drive to improve sustainability of land use. Fencing is essential to keep stock off areas prone to soil erosion, and especially to keep stock out of waterways.
  • To prevent stock camping areas in grazing blocks to ensure even fertility distribution. This is mainly seen where stock graze large paddocks or blocks in hill country. In certain areas they overgraze the palatable areas and neglect the scrubby areas. They may also show a behavioural preference to camp at nights on the tops of hills with consequent high fertility build up.
  • Good fencing is the key to high stock performance through high pasture utilisation. This needs to end up as extra profit for the farm and justifies the cost involved.