The standards set by the Department of Agriculture for farm fencing for both livestock and equine enterprises have recently been updated, with these new standards now to be met for all TAMS-related farm fencing projects.

All farm and equine fencing now must meet the new S.148 fencing standards.

One of the biggest changes concerning the recent updates is that copper oil treatment is now the recommended treatment for equine post and rail fencing.

Creosote had previously been the only recommended treatment up until its ban last April, as the preservative was also known to prevent crib biting.

Initial trials of copper oil-treated timber have shown similar results in preventing crib biting. Brush-on treatment of any preservative is not acceptable.

The announcement will come to great relief to equine holders who had applied for TAMS aid on fencing who had been without an approved alternative treatment to creosote since the ban on creosote products last April.

Moisture content

After drying and immediately prior to preservative treatment, the moisture content of posts for sheep, deer and goat fencing shall not exceed 28%, in accordance with I.S. 436, while for equine fencing, the moisture content of post and rail fencing shall not exceed 26%, when measured in accordance with I.S. 437.

Farmers and equine holders looking to purchase fencing posts or rails must ensure that the materials are approved by the NSAI or equivalent EU body. The list of approved suppliers of timber and alternative fencing posts has also been updated and can be viewed here.

Table 1 above dictates the timber species to be used for both farm fencing and equine post and rail fencing.

Oak is the only timber which is permissible to use without any preservative, though the timber should be free from sapwood if this is being done.


Intermediate posts

Intermediate posts shall be labelled by the bale. Each bale shall be labelled with the label containing the following information at a minimum:

  • Manufacturer’s details.
  • Bale number.
  • Number of pieces in bale.
  • Piece dimensions.
  • Date of labelling.
  • Verification of final inspection.
  • Irish Standard number.
  • Straining posts

    Straining posts shall be individually marked with a unique number, which can be fully traced back to the manufacturer. Each bale of straining posts shall also be labelled as for intermediate posts.