Journal Issue:
Preservative treatment of fence posts Bulletin: Volume 14, Issue 158

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Preservative treatment of fence posts
( 2017-08-09) MacDonald, G. ; Extension and Experiment Station Publications

One of the big expense bills that the Iowa farmer pays annually is for fence posts. If the 25,000,000 posts required each year for Iowa’s fences were set in one line and spaced a rod apart, they would build a fence three times around the earth at the equator; their cost would be nearly $4,000,000. That bill is so large because wooden posts, which are almost wholly used, are short lived. Yet numerous tests extending over many years made by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment station show that this heavy expense may be cut in two by preservative treatments which will lengthen the life of wooden posts from 3 to 25 years.

One of the best indications of the economic value of wood preservation is found in the attitude of the railroads of the United States toward this work. Practically all of them are using cross ties treated by one of the several processes and a number of the larger companies have installed elaborate treating plants for doing their own work. They save immense sums of money annually by increasing the durability of ties and it is this item that appeals to the railroads. What is true regarding the durability of railroad ties under preservative treatment is largely true with fence posts. Both are subjected to decay, since both are used in contact with the soil. If the farmer can reduce his fence post charges by one-half or more, the saving effected is well worth his consideration.