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Small grazing exclosures


PhilipP
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 Hi all,

 

I am looking for some advice on erecting stockproof fencing as part of an experiment on the impacts of grazing on saltmarsh. I am hoping to set up a series of (maybe 20) fenced exclosures each just 5 m x 5 m, possibly 4 m x 4 m. I have four potential sites, one with cattle, two with cattle and rabbits, one with sheep and rabbits. 

 

I have done stock fencing before with strainers, stakes, square mesh and a line of barb, but a strainer at the corner of each plot would be a lot of work. So I am wondering if I could use post and rail, possibly with four rails and dug-in wire mesh on the inside, topped by a line of barb. Would this be robust enough not to be flattened by cattle? Also what are the dangers of the stock damaging the rabbit mesh? I think, creosoted timber would be needed given the fact that the site would be periodically under the tide. 

 

Many thanks 

 

Philip

 
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Just to clarify folks, the stock will be on the outside of the exclosures, not the inside. The idea is to monitor the changes in the vegetation inside the fences when grazing is removed from these small patches.

 

@frontrowfencing. The fences would need to be in place for at least three years. The locations would be fairly remote from any farm and the exclosures fairly spaced out so not sure how we would get the electric fencing to work. There is also the problem with the tide coming in this far a few times each year.

 

I understand that it is an unusual idea, but I appreciate all your comments! The Dutch and the Germans have got this to work in the past, so it can be done. 

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That's much clearer. To accurately monitor the inside you will need to use net to reduce trespassing tongues and heads to the minimum.

 

The only saving I can think of is if you put just one corner brace in at 45 degrees from each fence line rather than the standard 2 (one on each fence line)

 

As Charlie says, they will rub the corner posts aggressively, they will need reinforcement. We fence in a large parkland with mature trees, it has small plantations fenced off. We tend to repair these every springtime.

 

Ugly as it sounds a shipping container with top and bottom cut out and cut in sections height wise would be the sort of thing that would do the job. Then just move it on. Maybe have corner posts with a height deterrent wire on

 

Scaffolding also could be utilised as the framework.

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That make a lot more sense ..! Perhaps a simpler option would be temporary site fencing but not the very light type there are heavier types available they come in 3.5m x 2 m high panels if you were to fix them in a square with the joining clamps and push the legs into the ground instead of using the feet that they use on building sites it would be a pity firm option and if this was not strong enough to you could use steel poles on the corners to Stop them being lifted the mesh size would be to small for cattle to bother them much as long as they have plenty of grass elsewhere to go at. Ring clipping rabbit net to the bottom of the panels would solve the rabbit problem.

 

Take a look at this company that manufactures them

 

Www.blokmesh.com

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@DWJONES fencing. Possibly yes but if I go the wire route, I am wondering what size of corner posts I would need to be cattle resistant. Do I really need full size strainers with struts or can I get away with smaller diameter?

 

@Ford6700. This is what I was thinking. Possibly with a line of barb along the top.

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Yes I would even brace post and rail against cattle. I imagine it can be sort on site.

 

We braced some p&r near a gate which is used to move the cattle to another field.

 

Really it boils down to how serious this experiment is and the allowable expense.

 

Cattle always go daft upon release in spring and vandalise, if you can keep them elsewhere for the first 2-3 weeks they should be less destructive.

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Thinking off the barrier idea, a 16' mesh gate is 4m (not sure if you can get longer?) Four 6-7"x 8' strainers, one in each corner. Gate sat on the ground and some kind of band or strap to hold gates to the strainer or hung if necessary.

 

They would be quick/ easy to install and so any extra cost in materials should be saved in labour. With materials on site knocking in 4 strainers on marsh should be quick. The mesh should be stock proof lower down. Gates usually bend when stock try and jump them so should be up to some scratching. Could possibly reinforce the middle with an extra 5" x 8' strainer and a strand of barb if necessary to stop rubbing.

 

EDIT: reading your post again, ur trying to get away from digging big strainers, which makes a rigid structure more necessary, so I would go down the barrier or gate route with 4/5/6" strainers knocked in the corners (the biggest u can by hand in the ground and 7' long)

 

Would be around 110cm high and if all strapped tightly should hold up to a little flood water.

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Just to clarify folks, the stock will be on the outside of the exclosures, not the inside. The idea is to monitor the changes in the vegetation inside the fences when grazing is removed from these small patches.

 

@frontrowfencing. The fences would need to be in place for at least three years. The locations would be fairly remote from any farm and the exclosures fairly spaced out so not sure how we would get the electric fencing to work. There is also the problem with the tide coming in this far a few times each year.

 

I understand that it is an unusual idea, but I appreciate all your comments! The Dutch and the Germans have got this to work in the past, so it can be done.

 

Philip, just a thought, still not given up on electric idea. Cheap Fence energiser £50.00, battery suitable for power £50.00 roll of wire for electric. Not much for quite a lot of wire. Plastic posts maybe about £1.50 each, no more than ten per site require. Solar power panel to keep battery topped up £30.00 You are looking at maybe £150.00 per site. Then put in one longer post to hang the energiser, solar panel and battery off, to keep them off the ground for high tides. Installation cost would be minimal. One man could carry enough for each plot to site, half hour to set up. At the end of experiment, there is some sellable batteries, energisers, posts and solar chargers, maybe not worth a lot, but would get some back. No holes to fill in. We recently did some fences round archaeological trenches, at the end of it, was only in 4 weeks when we took it down, there were big holes in the field that needed filling to prevent cattle breaking legs, and it took a fair while to get post out and take down wire etc.

 

Best of luck with it, you have come to the right place as you will get lots of ideas here, most of them good. I am full of bad ideas unfortunately.

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Iv done something along these lines

 

if you are going 4x4 m then  2x 16' rails on top of wire net, 7' post every 4' make the fence high enough that they can't reach over the top

 

electric fence might not work if its tidal and the energiser comes into contact with salt water

 

final piece of advise, if your taking a tractor out onto the salt marsh then hire one in, 2 weeks on a salt marsh made my tractor and quad into rust buckets with bearing probs and paint blistering etc

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That make a lot more sense ..! Perhaps a simpler option would be temporary site fencing but not the very light type there are heavier types available they come in 3.5m x 2 m high panels if you were to fix them in a square with the joining clamps and push the legs into the ground instead of using the feet that they use on building sites it would be a pity firm option and if this was not strong enough to you could use steel poles on the corners to Stop them being lifted the mesh size would be to small for cattle to bother them much as long as they have plenty of grass elsewhere to go at. Ring clipping rabbit net to the bottom of the panels would solve the rabbit problem.

Take a look at this company that manufactures them

Www.blokmesh.com

Heras, fencing?

that'sts what I use for chicken and dog runs, would certainly be just the job.

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@Ben Fencin. These are pretty neat, but may just be too small. Once you've removed a buffer due to edge effects the area left to derive data from is not great. I am hoping to record in a 2 m x 2 m central area for comparison with other datasets. +1 for a good idea though, I will give them some consideration.

 

@DWJONES @Robbell. Vehicle access is an issue for sure. Due to the sites being salt-marshes, but also as some are nature reserves, I reckon we will have to do all the work by hand, hence my concerns over large strainers. And yes debris accumulating around the fencing could also be an issue.

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Thanks to all for your range of suggestions. After considering all the options and the added practicalities of site sensitivity, transporting the materials and doing the workourselves, we have decided to try the following out on the first site and see how we do.

 

4 m x 4 m plots. 6" x 7' strainers knocked in 3' in each corner with a 6" drivall (or partly dug if the substrate is too tough). 2 struts per strainer using Vicebites to save on the time cutting mortises. 4" x 6' stakes, one at centre of each side, knocked in 2'.  4' sheep netting, topped by a line of barb, rabbit netting on the inside of posts dug in 6'. Gripples used to tighten wire.

 

I will let you know how we get on.

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Thanks to all for your range of suggestions. After considering all the options and the added practicalities of site sensitivity, transporting the materials and doing the workourselves, we have decided to try the following out on the first site and see how we do.

 

4 m x 4 m plots. 6" x 7' strainers knocked in 3' in each corner with a 6" drivall (or partly dug if the substrate is too tough). 2 struts per strainer using Vicebites to save on the time cutting mortises. 4" x 6' stakes, one at centre of each side, knocked in 2'.  4' sheep netting, topped by a line of barb, rabbit netting on the inside of posts dug in 6'. Gripples used to tighten wire.

 

I will let you know how we get on.

we found the knocking to be very hard on the salt marsh. We had the idea of using 10' strainers thinking it would be soft and the amount of pressure from water but in reality it was as hard as hell but let us know and good luck

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