Floating Fence Posts Stay Put In Moving Water
When farmers need someone to doze away brush along property lines in order to build fences in central Alberta, they often call on Calvin Foot.
"Often, we clear ground right up to a slough or marshy area that's under water at least part of the year," says the Red Willow, Alberta, farmer and cattleman.
"Building a fence that will hold and stay in place across an area with rising and falling water levels or even flowing water with ice chunks is difficult," he notes.
To help solve this problem, Foot and his wife, Rita, came up with what they call Wetland Posts.
They started with 5-ft by 4-in. fence posts made from recycled plastic. To these, they add a float capable of holding up 85 lbs. A 65-lb. concrete weight is fixed to the bottom of the post. An aluminum pin above the float, about 2 ft. from the bottom of the post, keeps the float from sliding up the post, and leaves 3 ft. at the top on which to fasten the wire. Another pin a couple of inches from the bottom is inserted before the post is set in concrete to keep the concrete weight in place.
Foot says the posts can be spaced out across a wet area like a slough or even across a lagoon or dugout, and barbed wire can be stapled to the posts.
The weight at the bottom of the post holds it down and allows it to settle into the mud if the water level drops low enough. Once the water comes up again, the float raises the post, keeping the wire in place above the water.
If there's likely to be a lot of moving water, Foot runs a 3/16 wire cable from post to post, anchoring them to a solid T-brace on each side of the water. The bracing is necessary to keep the flexible floating part of the fence from loosening the rest of the fence when it moves.
"I use the plastic posts because they hold staples as well or better than wood, but they don't swell up when they get wet," he says. "Beavers won't bother them, either. Cattle might bump against the floating posts, but because they're not set solid, they don't rub on them like they would on posts set in the ground."
The Foots are making and selling Wetland Posts (recycled plastic post, with concrete weight and durable plastic float attached) in their area for about $110 Canadian, not including shipping costs. "They're pretty heavy, so shipping them very far isn't usually cost effective," he says. "We have shipped some quite a ways when we could put them on a truck already going the right direction, though."
Foot says he might be willing to license the patented idea in other areas.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Calvin and Rita Foot, Red Willow, Alberta T0B 3V0 Canada (ph 403 742-1035; fax: 403 742-1035).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #3