Introduction on windbreak fencing and how the windbreak fencing works.
As previously explained, several different types of windbreak fencing are used. These mainly include solid fences, slatted fences, and snow fencing. However, hay stacks, piles of dirt and snow, buildings, trees, and other types of barriers should be utilized when possible. A minimum height of 10 feet is recommended for a windbreak fencing. With slatted or porous type construction, this provides good wind protection over 100 feet downwind. A higher fence can be built and effective windbreak distance (and shade) increased. This requires heavier, costlier construction, however, to withstand wind forces.
Rough, 6-inch wide boards, spaced about 1-1/2 inches apart provide for a 20% open fence. Space 8- inch wide rough boards about 9-1/2 inches on centers. Openings or “slots” up to 2 inches wide can be used for wider boards. Openings wider than 2 inches have been installed and seem to operate satisfactorily. This wider opening generally allows too much air to come through in one place, however, so cattle comfort may be affected. Again, other localized wind barriers have an effect on this. Plywood sheets and metal roofing sheets have been used for building slatted windbreak fences.
Generally, these materials are not as effective as narrower boards. The 4 to 8- inch wide open slots between the wide sheets is too wide an air space. This permits too-much air to pass through the fence in one place. Many more, but smaller slots or openings let the same amount of air through. Sharp edges on the metal can be a hazard to livestock and bending of sheets is a problem. Horizontal or vertical slots or open spaces in a slatted fence perform about the same. Leave a 4 to 6-inch high opening from the ground to the bottom of the fence. This prevents rot, permits drainage, drying, and summer air movement under the fence. Close this opening with straw or snow in winter to reduce drafts.
Construct the fence so the boards are next to the cattle. This prevents their pushing and rubbing off the boards in use. Install a horizontal rub rail if cattle will have access to either side of the windbreak fencing. Galvanized nails are recommended. Install 6-inch top diameter, pressure-treated posts into the ground about 4 feet deep and on 10 foot centers for most types of soils and for fences up to 12 foot high. Many operators want to improve the appearance of their feedyards and corrals. A penetrating, pigmented stain that includes a wood preservative such as pentachlorophenol is recommended for this. It is easier to apply (especially to rough lumber), usually is less costly, and will last longer than paint. A brown colored stain will not show dirt or staining as readily as will white paint.