Collaborating Producer: Wally & Christine Lentz, Whitelaw
Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
The purpose of this “3D fence” is to keep the local wildlife (moose & elk) out of the hay yard, which will reduce the amount of feed lost over the winter and increase the amount available for the cattle herd.
A fence was constructed around a hay storage yard in a paddock a few kilometers away from the home farm site. This fence is be considered to be a “3D fence” where a 2-wire (smooth wire) fence was already in existence, and a 1-wire (smooth wire) fence, was constructed on the outside of the 2-wire fence, approximately 3 feet away. This 1-wire fence was electrified by a solar powered fencer.
Results and Discussion:
In order to determine the success of the fence in keeping wildlife out, measurements were taken, which visually looked at the amount of feed destroyed/eaten by wildlife. It was also documented through photos whether there was the presence of wildlife tracks around or in the fenced area. Based on photo evidence and producer observations, the fence worked quite well during the winter of 2011/2012. However, a one time incident of a moose hitting the fence and breaking a corner post, left the fence not operational until the next summer when the fence post could be replace. Up until that time, wildlife had been successfully kept out of the hay yard. A pasture walk was held in the summer of 2012, which included discussions on how the fence was set up, its success and where to next. For the 2012/2013 winter so far, the fence has seemed to work well and there have been no observations of wildlife in or near the yard. The amount of snow may also be acting as a deterrent in addition to the 3D fence.
The Peace River Forage Association of British Columbia has had many projects looking at the impacts, costs and savings of different 3D fencing models. Therefore, we have included some of their data to give an idea of what the dollar figures can be when dealing with wildlife and forage/feed losses. For more information on the cost assumptions used, please visit http://www.peaceforage.bc.ca/forage_facts
The initial cost to construct and put up the fence may seem intimidating, but the end savings that can be accomplished outweigh these costs. From the PCBFA projects, the bush line project tried using a fence that cost nothing to the producer other than a few hours in labour because the posts, wire and fencer were already purchased and available for use. With cattle producers trying to move winter feeding out of the corrals and into the pasture, 3D fencing might be one of the ways that can help reduce feed loss from wildlife consumption.