Types of Fence Posts
Posts are the backbone of your fence system. The type of fence post you will use in your fence system depends foremost on the purpose of the fence.
Line posts support the fence wire and keep it evenly spaced. Corner posts (generally wood) must be set deeper than line posts to withstand the strain of supporting the fence line. Temporary or portable posts are generally smaller and lighter step-in posts.
Examples of questions you might ask yourself include:
- Do you want to create an area where livestock will graze temporarily?
- Or do you want a strong, durable permanent fence to contain livestock for a long period of time?
This section will explain the types of fence posts available and help you to choose which type best suits your needs.
Types of Fence Posts
Corner fence posts must withstand enormous tension loads and are a vital component to constructing a solid fence. Wood posts, at least 8 feet in length, are recommended. Posts for corners should be set 24-48 inches in the ground and more than 48 inches in sandy or rocky soil.
Wood posts may be the most expensive post option. Wood posts are recommended for high-tensile fence systems and other permanent fences, especially at corners, gates and termination points where there is added strain and stress.
Wood posts can also be used along the line of the fence. While using wood posts may seem costly at first, with the longevity of wood fence posts, it can pay for itself over and over again. They are available for purchase at most farm and home building supply stores.
Rebar and Fiberglass Posts
Steel rod posts (rebars) and fiberglass rod posts are ideal for portable or temporary fencing, including rotational grazing and temporary corrals. They can also be used in line posts and spacers. Since they cannot manage heavy strain, these metal posts are for the fence line, not corners. They should never be used as corner posts of a permanent fence.
T-Posts can be used with permanent or semi-permanent fence and do an excellent job as in-line posts. Wood posts are still needed at the corners, due to the higher strain of the fence wires at the corners.
For cross-fencing, a T-post fence is more expensive than a Step-In Post fence, but lasts longer. Use T-posts to cross-fence if you want to create semi-permanent paddocks in a large pasture. If flexibility and easy take-down/set-up is a priority then consider going with a step-in or other portable fencing post.
T-posts are driven into the ground with a handheld post pounder. Each post should be driven about 18-24 inches into the ground depending on the amount of strain the post will be under. Interestingly, most T-posts are made from recycled train tracks.
T-posts are available for purchase at most farm and home building supply stores.
Step-in posts are an inexpensive option designed specifically for temporary fencing. . Temporary or portable posts are usually lighter and smaller. Ideal for rotational grazing, these posts will work great as in-line posts and are constructed with hooks that will handle most polytapes, polyropes, and wire. No additional clips or insulators are usually required with these posts since they are made from products with insulation properties.
Pig Tail Posts
Pig tail fence posts are another fencing option you might consider. The pig tail step-in post is ideal for managed intensive grazing applications due to its lightweight, portable construction. The little loop at the end of the post resembles a pig's tail, hence the name.
Similar to the step-in posts, pig tail posts require no additional clips or insulators. Pig tail posts work great as in-line posts for cross-fencing and work with most polytapes, polyropes, and wire.
Recommended Post Spacing
High-tensile, level terrain
High-tensile, difficult animals, rolling terrain
Poly tape and poly wire