Deer Fencing - How To
Each year, farmers face a wide variety of pests and problems that not only affect their crops but their land and their livelihoods. There is nothing quite like carefully planning, seeding and tending to a favorite crop, like a great bed of cabbages, only to come outside one morning and see that it’s become a messy meal for a certain pesky long legged creature.
That’s right, DEER, one of the most common (and frustrating) pests that farmers encounter. The best tool in the farmer’s tool belt to help battle the midnight brassica buffets or morning salad bars is a deer fence!
When looking to install a deer fence on your land or around your garden there are some things to consider. Here are a few that will help determine which fence will work well on your farm:
• What kind of pest pressure do you have? Is it mainly deer? Do you also have rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons or other critters?
• How costly is the damage? This can help inform your budget.
• How long will the fence be there?
• What kind of terrain are you working with?
Each of these can help determine the size, strength and style of fence you choose.
When it comes to deer fences there are two main options typically seen on farms. You’ll either find black polypropylene mesh or metal fencing. Each has pros and cons.
Metal wire fencing is highly effective at keeping deer at bay. Due to its weight and durability it creates a permanent barrier that cannot be chewed or ripped through. It may also prevent other critters from making their way into your growing space. While durability and longevity are some of the most important factors in a good fence they can also push the budget into higher tiers. In addition to higher cost, metal fencing can be more cumbersome to install and difficult to work with in certain terrain.
Polypropylene mesh is a great alternative to metal if you are looking for something that has is lightweight, flexible and has good longevity. Poly-mesh fencing is an excellent option if your primary pests are deer. These fences are typically 8 ft and provide a barrier that has a 650/750 lbs per sq. ft breaking load. The lifespan of poly-mesh is between 10-25 years, depending on the variety you choose and environmental conditions. Poly-mesh fences can also be more straightforward to install (or remove) and will bend/form better to terrain than metal wire. Poly-mesh is also a more affordable choice than metal.
Regardless of which type of fencing you choose, anyone that has built a fence will tell you one thing. You need strong corners! There are a few ways to accomplish this, be it wooden posts or steel t-posts, and strong reinforcement can come from the way you join the parts of each corner. A tried and true system we use here on the farm and recommend to farmers in our community are the kits made by Wedge-Loc. They are easy to use, quick to install and will easily last as long as your fence.
When you install your fence posts and create your corners, make sure you have them in line and that slope changes are accounted for. When you attach the fencing to your posts (we recommend UV-protected zip-ties or stainless steel cable ties) keep your fencing as tight as you can. This will create a better line as well as a better barrier in case any deer do decide to attempt a leap. Another great addition to your deer protection plan is Des-X, which now has a FIFRA Section 2(ee) recommendation label which allows for its use as a deer deterrent when applied to the perimeter around your field!
As you look ahead to next year’s growing season, consider some of these questions and whether changing or upgrading your farm’s fencing could help with crop loss and save valuable time and money. We stock a good selection of fencing supplies and have access to a larger selection of more custom fencing solutions as well. We love answering questions and figuring out what combination of fencing supplies will help make your farm secure and that much more efficient. Please reach out to discuss any questions you may have!