The Best Defense is a Good Fence

Group of livestock near a fence

Thiis is part one of our five-part Farm Gate series about agricultural projects that are supported by the ALUS Peel Pilot. 

Hoofed animals like cows, horses, sheep and goats can cause significant damage to sensitive areas on farms when they have unrestricted access. Livestock exclusion prevents further damage and allows sensitive areas to rehabilitate.

Fencing stops livestock from getting into sensitive areas. The soils in and around wetlands, streams and ponds are often water-logged, making them more fragile. When livestock trample these areas, it leads to erosion, compaction and unstable banks. Animal waste introduces nutrient pollution, as well as bacteria, to the water.

Grazing affects sensitive plant communities like those found on the banks of waterways, wetlands and some woodlands. Restricting livestock from these communities allows the plants to grow freely, leading to natural rehabilitation. Planting native plants within a fenced off area helps to speed the rehabilitation process.

Along watercourses, livestock fencing helps to establish healthy riparian buffers. A riparian buffer is a vegetated area along the edge of a watercourse. These buffers protect water quality, improve habitat for wildlife, and create corridors to other habitat features. They’re a critical part of our landscape and an example of natural infrastructure that is being created with the help of farmers and the ALUS Peel Pilot.  

Just like people, animals need access to clean drinking water for their survival. Sometimes funding is available to create an alternate watering system to bring water to a herd in a less sensitive area. If the animals require access to land on the other side of a sensitive feature, and they can’t go around it, a project may also include a livestock crossing.

Livestock fencing is one of the natural infrastructure projects supported by ALUS Peel. Other projects include tree planting; wetland, stream and grassland restoration; and in-field soil erosion.

Through the ALUS Peel program farmers receive annual payments to establish, maintain and monitor on-farm stewardship projects. The program is available to farmers within the Region of Peel. Other funding sources to support livestock fencing are available outside of Peel. If you have a fencing project in mind, contact our team today.

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