Suspension fences require minimum maintenance | TSLN.com

Suspension fences require minimum maintenance

Courtesy photoChris Hanneken demonstrates how to insert a lock rod into a SuperStay for a suspension fence.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

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Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

Stockmen are always looking for ways to minimize expense and labor in maintaining adequate fencing. New materials for suspension fences are making them attractive in terms of installation costs and longevity. A big advantage to suspension fencing is fewer posts. This is helpful in rocky terrain, and also in terms of cost and labor for installation and maintenance. Suspension fences have more resilience when struck by animals or vehicles, and therefore less damage to the fence.

The Hanneken family developed their first suspension fence products in the 1970s, originally as a means to create better fencing on their own ranches. Later they formed the Southwest Fence Systems and Southwest Fence and Supply Company, Inc. According to Chris Hanneken, their unique braces and lightweight stays make this fencing highly durable, minimizing maintenance. Their system is now used throughout the country on farms and ranches and by county and state municipalities, oilfields, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Department of Transportation, park districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other entities.

Early suspension fences used wooden stays, which provided good visibility to livestock and wildlife, but were labor intensive and costly to install. Then ranchers tried metal twist stays, but those had poor visibility and were not always easy to install. Twist stays are easily bent by wildlife hitting the fence or going under or over it, leaving stays permanently bent. Bent stays compromise height or positioning of wires and effectiveness of a fence to hold livestock – and are almost impossible to remove without bolt cutters once they become bent.

Polyethylene stays are more durable and resilient and last longer. They have a lock pin for easy installation, which is also effective for electric fence. The poly stays can also be used for rejuvenating old fences and making quick repairs.

“We’ve had poly stays in 40-foot wire gates that have been run over by trucks thousands of times when the gates were laid down, and they are still functional. You can’t do that with metal stays,” explains Hanneken.

These stays only come to the bottom wire, so the fence is floating free between posts. This makes a better suspension system because it has more give if an animal or car hits it. If stays rest on the ground, it is not truly a suspension fence.

Posts for a suspension fence can be metal or wood, set 16- to 50-feet apart. “This allows the fence to give and flex without compromise,” says Hanneken. Traditional fences along a road usually won’t remain standing to hold livestock after a vehicle crashes through them – taking out posts and knocking the fence down.

When vehicles hit a good suspension fence, the fence usually remains standing enough to contain livestock until repairs can be made. “Even if a post is knocked out and there’s an 80-foot section of unsupported fence, the wires generally won’t break, and the fence is still in place, and will hold livestock,” says Hanneken.

Heavy snow can weigh down traditional or electric fencing and break wires or push a fence over. Freezing and thawing can disrupt stability of traditional posts and braces, as frost heaves posts upward. After a few years, posts and braces may not stay in line or completely lift out of the ground.

“The bracing system is the key to our suspension fence, designed to withstand freezing and thawing. Our braces utilize a diagonal rod similar to the anchor system on modular homes. This is where we got the idea. No suspension system can be successful without a good brace,” says Hanneken.

His family developed a driven brace, quick and foolproof to install, without having to dig post-holes. “The two brace posts are driven into the ground, and there’s a guide tube on each post that’s cut and welded into that post at a 45-degree angle,” Henneken says. “After you’ve driven the post to the depth of the guide tube, you put the anchor rod through the guide tube, drive the rod into the ground and bolt it in place.” The fence is engineered for a brace every quarter mile.

The new technology in wire – and improvements in tensile strength and durability – may make traditional bracing inadequate for a suspension fence. This new brace is stronger than the new wire, so the braces always hold. When using new high-tensile 14-gauge green wire (higher strength than the old, softer, high-carbon wire), this brace exceeds the test for pulling that wire and will hold better.

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