Applying for sheep fencing grant aid? – Here’s the specs you need to keep in mind

The Department of Agriculture announced the opening of grant aid for sheep fencing under the TAMS II scheme last week.

Farmers who meet the schemes requirements will be able to apply for funding for both wire fences and gateways.

Farmers accepted into the scheme will be eligible for grant aid funding of €5.34/m for sheep wire with one strand of barbed wire, while the rate increases for those in mountain areas to €8.01/m.

Gateways will also be granted aided and the reference cost is €299.00 per gateway.

However, there are number of key specifications that farmers need to keep in mind before applying for the scheme. This includes the type and quality of stakes, wire and gates used.

Fence post requirements

According to the Department, fence posts used under the sheep fencing scheme have to meet the requirements of IS436 and should be certified by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) or an equivalent body such as the BSI.

The IS436 classification outlines materials, test methods, quality control, marking, packaging, transport and onsite storage requirements for timber post and wire fencing.

Some of the key requirements of this classification include: no decay, no insect attack and the surface condition of the stake must be free from extraneous matter such as mud, dirt and water.

Permitted species for timber stakes under the sheep fencing scheme:

Source: Department of Agriculture
Source: Department of Agriculture

Stake and straining post identification

Farmers accepted into the scheme also need to ensure that the stakes (intermediate posts) are labelled by the bale.

The label must contain the following information:
  • Manufacturer’s details
  • Bale number
  • Number of pieces in bale
  • Piece dimensions
  • Date of labelling
  • Verification of final inspection
  • Irish Standard number (ISN)

According to the Department, straining posts should also be marked individually with a unique number, which can be fully traced back to the manufacturer.

Each bale of straining posts should also be labelled.

A “fencing post certificate” is also required to be completed for all applications for grant aid involving timber fencing posts, the Department says.

stakes (landscape)

Post requirements for sheep fencing

According to the Department, strainer posts need to be at least 2,100mm long (6.9 foot) with a minimum diameter of 175mm (6 inches).

Another requirement of the Department is that straining posts have to be driven at least 900mm (2.96 foot) into the ground.

Positioning of straining posts:
  • The beginning and end of every length of fencing
  • At gaps or openings
  • A straining post is needed at every change of direction where the angle is greater than 30 degrees
  • They must also be used to accommodate any significant change in gradient
  • The maximum gap between strainer posts shall not exceed 150m, except when the site is free from undulations
  • When the site is free from undulations the spacing of strainers shall not exceed 500m
  • In soft ground, the strainer length may have to be increased to provide the necessary stability

The Department also requires intermediate posts (stakes) to be at least 1,800mm (5.9 foot) long and 100mm (3.9 inches) in diameter.

These posts shall be spaced at no more than 5m intervals, the Department says and should be driven at least 450mm (17.7 inches) into the ground.

Fencing options

Farmers accepted into the sheep fencing scheme are eligible to receive grant aid for sheep wire with one strand of barbed wire.

However, the Department says that the fence shall have a minimum height of 1,000mm (3.28 foot), with the barbered wire set above the sheep mesh.

The lowest line of the sheep mesh is allowed to be between 50-100mm above ground level.

Wire specifications under the sheep fencing scheme:
  • Barbed wire shall be formed of two 1.6 mm high tensile line wires
  • Or alternatively, the wire may be formed of two 2mm high tensile wires
  • Heavy duty high tensile wire is required (minimum tensile strength of 990N/mm2)
  • Sheep wire shall be a minimum of 800mm high
  • Sheep wire should have a minimum of eight horizontal wires
  • Maximum opening size at the bottom of the sheep wire shall not exceed 225x90mm
  • Maximum opening at the top of the sheep wire shall not exceed 225x185mm
  • High tensile sheep wire is required with a minimum diameter of 2.5mm

Gates for sheep fencing grant aid

Gateways will also be granted aided and the reference cost is €299.00 per gateway.

According to the Department, gateways for sheep fencing should be at least 3.6m wide and the gate should be at least 1.2m high.

If they are also used as an entrance gate to a public road they should be able to open inwards. Hanging posts and closing posts shall each be not less than 2.28m long, the Department says.

The scheme also requires all gates to be suitably hung using suitably sized proprietary gate hangers and the main frame shall be between 50-100mm above ground level.

The gates also have to be fitted with an adequate locking mechanism, which shall securely keep the gate closed. Hanging and closing posts are also required to be independent from any fence post.

And, to qualify for the scheme, all steel gates have to be hot dip galvanised.

Gate post options:
  • Hanging posts of circular hollow section of at least 114.3mm outside diameter by 3.6 mm thick and closing posts of at least 88.9mm outside diameter by 3.0mm
  • Hanging posts of square hollow section of at least, 100 mm square by 4.0mm thick and closing posts of at least, 80 mm square x 3.0 mm thick square hollow section
  • UB or IPE section beams, of at least, 150 mm x 75 mm.
  •  Timber gate posts shall be, at least, 225mm diameter and not less than 2.40m long and
    shall be certified in accordance with I.S. 436 as for fencing posts.
  • Reinforced concrete gate posts listed on S.148A.

A full list of requirements under the sheep fencing scheme is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

Gateway 4