February 2, 2016

New Zealand farming. Fencing – Glossary of terms.

 Dr Clive Dalton

Auger: Tool for boring holes in timber or for boring holes for fence posts in the ground.

Batten: Used to keep wires on a fence at equal distance apart, preventing stock pushing through the fence and adding strength to the fence.  Ususlly made from lengths of wood (50 x 50mm) but can be made from wire, lengths of chain or plastic strip. Same as dropper.

Boundary fence:  Fence which divides two or more properties and which must comply with the New Zealand Fencing Act 1978.

Legal boundary fence. Note how fence line has been cleared to make fencing easier and more stock proof when finished.
Barbed wire on boundary fence
Breast plate: Piece of timber placed in the ground that supports the stay at a strainer post, an angle or corner post.  May be called a stay foot.

Bridge spikes: Large nails with square heads and shank used to attach decking to bridge stringers (main supports).

Cap rail:  Top rail on cattle yards used to walk along.  Also top rail on any wooden fence.

Cattle stop: A grill structure above a pit in a roadway or track that stock will not cross when they see the gaps.  Also called a cattle grid.

Chain: Imperial unit of length to measure fencing.  I chain = 22 yards.  Metric equivalent used is 20m.

Contract:  Arrangement made between farmer and fencing contractor to define what work has to be done.  May be verbal for small job but fully documented for large jobs with legal implications.

Crowbar:  Steel bar sharpened at one end to make holes in ground or be used as a general purpose lever.

Dead man:  Anchor to which a strainer, angle or corner post is tied back, and buried deep in the ground.

Dogs:  Same as gudgeon.

Dropper: Same as batten.

Fence: Definition under NZ Fencing Act 1978. 
‘A substantial post, batten and wire fence, having not lass than seven wires, not more than two of the wires being barbed; barbed wires to be placed in a position agreed upon by the persons interested, or to be omitted if those persons agree, the posts to be of durable timber, metal, stone or reinforced concrete, and not more than 5.03m apart, and securely rammed and, in hollows or where subject to lifting through the strain of the wire to be securely footed, or stayed with wire: the battens to be of durable timber or metal, evenly spaced, and not less than four in each space between the posts, the wires to be galvanized and not lighter than No. 8 gauge; the barbed wire to have barbs spaced 0.15m apart, and to be galvanized; the bottom wire to have barbs not more than 0.12m  from the ground, the three bottom wires to be not more than 0.12m apart; and the top wire to be not less than 1.14m from the ground; all wires to be strained tightly and fastened to or let through the battens and posts to provide a tight durable, stock-proof fence’. 

A boundary fence can be modified by agreement between the land owning parties.  On a boundary fence, you have to fence your neighbour’s stock out, so battens go on their side of the fence.

Fence laying: Delivering materials to the line of the fence and laying them out ready for work to start.  Materials used to be delivered by pack horse or fixed wing aircraft, but now helicopters can be used.

Fence line: The actual position of the fence.

Fencing types:
  •  Power or electric fence.  Fence made from insulated standards and electrified wire
  • Pig fence: Netting fence usually 1.07m high.
  • Sheep fence. 
  • Post and rail fence: Wooden posts joined by rails. 
  • Deer fence: Netting fence 1.6m high.
  • Boundary fence:  Seven wires, fully battened (see Fencing Act).

Four wire electric fence to restrain sheep
 Foot: Block of wood attached by wire to the base of a post and then buried and rammed in a post hole to stop it being twisted or pulled out when the wires are strained.  Plural of foot is foots!

Footing:  Same as foot.

Fixed foot:  Where the foot is secured to the bottom of the post before ramming, and not rammed separately when attached by a wire – sometimes called a flying foot.

Fencing pliers: A combination hand tool used to cut and bend wire.

Flying fox: Wire fixed between two ‘dead men’ used to carry fencing materials when laying out a line in steep hill country.

Gate: Structure which closes access between paddocks or pens in yards.  Many kinds depending on function made from wood or metal.
·      Drafting gates in yards to separate animals.
·      Lift and swing gates in woolshed pens.
·      Backing gate:  Used in stockyards to prevent animas moving backwards.
·      Vet gate: Narrow gate in cattle yard to allow vet to operate behind a beast held securely in a head bail.
·      Taranaki gates made from fence battens and wire pulled tight to close gaps.
·      Flood gates: Used across a stream and which can rise during floods.

Modern galvanised gates

 Grass fence: Fence made from two electric fence wires at the same height and about 1m apart, where the herbage is allowed to grow up between the wires.

Gudgeon:  Part of a gate hinge assembly that is knocked into to the gate post.  The hinge straps fit over the gudgeon.

Guide wire: Wire used during construction to define the position and line of the fence.

Hinges:  Used to allow gate to swing open or closed.  Made up of gudgeons and strap hinges.

Jenny:  Device for holding roll of wire to make unwinding easy. Also called spinning Jenny or wire spinner.

Knots: Used to join wires. Main types are figure 8 and double loop.

Maul:  Wooden hammer to driving pointed stakes.

Measuring up: Calculating the length of a fence and the materials needed to estimate costs.

Netting: Fencing wire woven into a net with varying sized mesh depending on the stock that have to be restrained.

Netting added to boundary fence as well as hot wire near top.
 Outrigger: Electrified wire placed attached to the main fence but fixed on brackets away from it.

Hot wire on boundary fence held by outrigger
 Peg:  Pointe piece of timber used to mark out the exact line of the fence.

Pinchbar:  See crowbar.

Posts:  Main part of fence used to support the wires.  Many kinds:
·      Strainer posts:  Main posts at either end of a fence to take the strain of the wires
·      Intermediate posts: Posts between the strainer post.  May be called line posts.
·      Angle posts:  Posts placed where the fence changed direction and need extra support by stays and tiebacks.
·      Treated posts:  Timber posts treated with preservative – called ground treated to withstand being buried for at least 10 years.

Round posts

Quarter round posts
Post timbers:
·      Radiata pine: posts and battens.
·      Totara:  posts, battens, foots.
·      Rimu: battens.

Post driver: Tool or tractor mounted machine  to drive posts into the ground.

Post cap: Metal cover for the top of a post to protect it from rot.

Post hole borer:  Engine driven machine to bore post holes in the ground.

Ram: To consolidate earth around a post with a rammer.

Ratchet: Part of a fence strainer used to tighten wires.

Tension:  The strain put on each wire of a fence.

Tension meter:  Device to measure how much tension each wire has.

Self-tapping bolt:  Threaded bolt that makes it’s own threaded hole when screwed into a wooden post.  Used to thread in a gudgeon.

Standard:  Pointed metal post to hold wires (electric or plain), or plastic insulated post specifically to carry an electric wire – and which is moved regularly during grazing.

Electric fence standards used for strip grazing pastures

Standard lifter:  Lever device to lift metal standards out of the ground.

Staples:  U-shaped double pointed nails to secure wires to wooden posts.

Stays:  Support for strainer or angle posts.

Stay block: See breastplate.

Stock proof: Fence which totally effective in restraining stock.

Strain: Tension put on fence wires.

 Stringer:  Main weight bearing truss on a bridge, usually made of timber.

Tie downs:  See dead man.

Tie back: See tire wire.

Twister: Tool to make a wire twitch.

Twitch: Twisted wire tie of two or more strands.

Twitch wire: See tie wire.

Twitch stick: Twister made of wood or steel.

·      Plain or smooth.
·      High tensile.  Strong wire usually 12.5 gauge or 2.5mm diameter.
·      Number 8 wire.  Smooth wire 8 gauge or 4mm in diameter.
·      Barbed.  Two smooth wires twisted into which barbs are woven at intervals.

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