The bulk of our work sees us out in rural Oxfordshire putting up agricultural fences to keep cattle or sheep safe, or, conversely, protecting trees from being browsed by rabbits and deer. For this kind of work, knowing your material, how it is treated and what specification to use, is absolutely crucial. As a standard, Nicholsons uses Universal Class 4 (UC4) treated Pine to achieve a level of durability we are happy to recommend to our customers. This means that the timber has been kiln-dried and pressure-treated to ensure that the application of the preservative is deep within the wood.
Another option is to use Creosote, much the same process as UC4 but this uses higher temperatures. This treatment has been used for over 150 years and can extend the lifetime of a fence to 30-40 years. It also introduces an unmistakable colouring, which can be like Marmite – you either love it or hate it! However, Nicholsons applies a thoughtful approach to its use because of the associated carbon footprint; Creosote is derived from coal and the tar is a by-product of the coking process for steel manufacturing, so this product comes with an environmental cost.
Typically, agricultural fencing consists of tensioned wire or netting for rabbits, sheep, cattle, horses and deer, as well as post and rail fencing. The strength of these fences is determined by the distance between each post and the depth they have been put in the ground. Deer fencing only requires posts every 5m, whereas cattle require posts every 3m, but both will have 40% of the total length of the post in the ground. A straining post for deer fencing will be driven 1.2m in the ground to ensure it is rigid and able to carry the weight of the netting. Rabbit net is slightly unusual because it is typically buried in the ground and it is the vertical tension that keeps the fence looking smart, as well as preventing the bunnies digging underneath it.