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20 fence fix-ups from All Around the Farm

Farmers are true problem-solvers and inventors. These smart, practical fixes for fencing issues were featured in All Around the Farm.

Farmer-built trailer keeps fencing tools and materials together

Varel Bailey and son, Scot, of Anita, Iowa, have put a lot of miles on the frame of a retired auger wagon. They dropped the frame then modified it for carrying fencing tools and materials. “The post caddies are like giant baby beds without mattresses,” Varel says. The floor is wire mesh from a hog farrowing stall. Most of the tools and small supplies fit at the front of the floor, which leaves the rest of the floor open for tools such as spades, shovels, and a hand tamper plus corner posts and braces.

Fencing staple alternative

Having had enough of pounding staples into hard wooden posts and removing the deeply set staples later, Dale Gengenbach of Eustis, Nebraska, developed a way to simplify the task. He clamps fender washers in a vise and bends them over with a few taps of a shop hammer, then drives each screw centered in a washer with a battery-operated impact wrench.

Fencing staple closeup

Automatic lift

Jim Brimeyer no longer has to jump off and on his skid loader to get in the cattle yard since he mounted a garage door opener on the silo to pull the wire up and down. The loader’s key chain has a remote opener. The Holy Cross, Iowan mounted 1.5-inch pipe on the silo with a 4-inch PVC collar that slides up and down as the opener moves.


No need for a gate with this fence lift

Weston Wadel of Millen, Georgia, says, "I’ve been able to eliminate the need for a gate with this portable device. It’s easy to carry from one area to another, and I use it to lift the fence, allowing animals to walk underneath. A notch in one end of the PVC pipe holds the fence wires. Straps secure the pipe to the desired posts."

Fence Lift

DIY windbreak attachment for fence

Dennis Buse from Bridgewater, South Dakota, says, "I used old rubber horse mats and strap iron to make a windbreak that hangs over my continuous fence. I bent the strap iron to make hooks and attached the hooks to the mats with bolts. (Holes are drilled in both.) It was a fast and easy option that cost me around $40 to make."    

wind break

Easy unwinding

Tom Block of Pearl City, Illinois, says, "I made this high-tensile wire unwinder from two disk opener blades, some square tubing, flat stock, bolts, and springs. It is lighter, sturdier, and less expensive than commercial units. Adjust the tension by tightening the center bolt locknut. To change spools, simply turn the tabs inward or loosen the four bolts slightly to slide them in or out for different size rolls."

Fence wire handler

Driver for electric fence posts

Don Hewitt of Beloit, Kansas, says, "I welded a steel cap and handle onto one end of a section of light-duty 1¼-inch angle iron and a footstep onto the other end. This lets me just use my body weight on the step to drive electric fence posts into the ground. I find I don’t need to remove insulators when moving posts from one location to another, so besides saving labor, this also saves time."

Fence post driver from Mar '20 AATF

Lock down fence posts

Randy Bjornson from Hawley, Minnesota, says, "My corner posts and end posts kept pulling out of the wet ground, so I started making my own 1,200-pound concrete versions. Each is made with about ¹∕3 yard of concrete, some used oil well pipe, and rebar. PVC pipe over the top makes an insulator. I’ve used these for five years now."

concrete corner post support

Lift for tired wire

Wire in pasture fences tends to sag. Instead of cutting the wire, Kenneth Meyer uses this crimping tool he made out of ½-inch rod to restretch it. Hinged in the center, it creates a soft bend, usually twice between posts, to stretch the fence on his Baileyville, Kansas, farm.


Barbed wire spacer

Ray Schroeder, Buhler, Kansas, made this device to support the barbed wires a few inches from the post, which frees both hands for driving staples. The 2-inch pegs made of ¼-inch iron are welded at a slant onto ½-inch iron rod. The pegs are spaced for a three-wire fence on one side and for a four-wire fence on the other A plate welded to the bottom makes a base.


Walk-through fence

Without a latch or chain to undo, it’s much easier to go through a fence, says Jerome Hofer of Mitchell, South Dakota. This modification creates space that is wide enough for a person to pass but not wide enough for a cow. He says that if he wants to open the fence, he just lifts the pipe piece out to make a larger opening. These are very easy to make and install, he reports.


Latch catch

Jadon Hofer of Platte, South Dakota, built this latch by attaching a length of pipe to ¼-inch cable. That pipe slides into slightly larger pipes welded to his fence. It catches in place with a spring and a sprocket. The three pieces of pipe could also be clamped on, he says, but welding is stronger, and it’s much easier and quicker to simply pull the cable than to undo a chain.


Gate in a gate

Linda Holbeck and her husband of Chewelah, Washington, weren’t able to locate creep feeder panels in their area, so they had their welder put a small gate into their tube gate. The small gate allows calves to come and go in the barnyard without compromising the structure of the tube gate. This way we don’t have to store creep panels, either.


Dirt packer

Using a piece of 6-pound pipe, 5/8-inch rod for two 4-foot-long bars, and two bicycle hand grips, D.H. Smith Jr. and his son made this device to pack dirt extra tight around fence posts. A half-moon-shape welded on top makes a good guide, he says. He reports that it takes them only one fourth as much time and the hoe handle they were using. D.H. says his son got the idea while fencing with the latter method in Jamesville, Virginia’s 90-degree heat.


Self-closing gates

Rodney Woods of Baylis, Illinois, cut a 12-foot bent tube gate into three 54x54-inch automatic ATV gates. He bolted 2-inch-wide rectangular tubing to the top of each as stops and for mounting pulleys. A 10-pound weight is on the end of each 5-foot cable. The pulleys are on the top and back of the tubing and the front of the gates. The gates are secured to the ground with 3-foot-long metal stakes.


Wraparound hinge

With its conventional hinge, Vance Haugen’s gate would only move 180 degrees. With the hinge he built in place, he can fold the gate flat on both sides of the corral fence, or 350 degrees. This makes it easier to maneuver the tractor and skid steer on his Canton, Minnesota, farm. Since it’s a 16-foot gate, he used ¼-inch gussets and steel to keep it from flexing too much.


Punch-packing PVC

The bull on Sanford Nissley’s farm near Catlett, Virginia, quickly discovered he could break out the boards from their new vinyl fence and escape. So they drilled holes in the posts and ran electric wire on the inside of the fence behind the center board. Nissley says it won’t short the fence, doesn’t mar its beauty, nor does it require insulators. And the bull leaves it alone.


Springs tighten

Stanley Stewart of Fairbury, Nebraska, says he uses old springs from car hoods to keep his electric fences tight. Available in salvage yards, they have saved him a great deal of breakage, he reports – even if a deer or cow fails to see the fence, it still won’t break. He attaches the springs to the corner posts.


Heavy-duty eye

Eyes made of wire often bed out of shape. Unable to find a company that makes an eye for a heavy-duty electric fence gate, Art Jansen made his own at his Fordyce, Nebraska, farm. He used ¼-inch chain quick link and a heavy wood post insulator. A chain quick link opens, so it’s easy to wrap electric wire around it, he says.


Post-hole digger

Tired of pounding electric fence posts into frozen ground, Frank Potter of Callaway, Nebraska, bought a 12-inch-long, ½-inch concrete drill bit for his power drill. By using a generator in the back for his truck, he can drill holes for the posts, which then go right into the frozen ground. “No more hitting my hand with a hammer,” he says.

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