What is a “Composite” Fence Post?

For the past several years I have been involved in the introduction of a composite line post for electric fencing. And, to date I believe that there have been over a million of our posts put into the ground. But a lot of folks out there still ask me what we mean by the word “composite.”

As Field Representative for PasturePro I make a lot of cold calls, attend open houses for dealers and am involved with showing our posts at trade shows and grazing conferences. I rarely pass up an opportunity to promote this product for I have used them on my own farms and have experimented with many different uses for them and the characteristics and properties of this composite material continually amaze me.

Here is the definition of composite materials according to Wikipedia:

Composite materials (or composites for short) are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct on a macroscopic level within the finished structure.

Fiberglass, a common composite material, consists of glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix (a glass-plastic composite). In comparison, the two materials that make up PasturePro posts are polypropylene and wood (a wood-plastic composite).

Composites are really not all that new to society or agriculture. Fiberglass was first used widely in the 1950s for boats and automobiles, and today most cars have fiberglass bumpers covering a steel frame. We have had fiberglass and sucker rod composite fence posts around for many years and most livestock producers that use electric fencing have realized and enjoyed the benefits of using a non-conductive line post. The greatest value of composite materials is that they can be both lightweight and strong.

There is still much development being done with composites. However, what really sets the PasturePro post into a level of its own is that it is manufactured as a 2nd Generation composite. Not only is it comprised of a composite material, it has also been given “orientation.” It is a relatively new patented process and it is exciting to me.

There seems to be quite a lot of information out there about using composite materials for residential fencing, decking or railing, but very little regarding its use for farm fencing. Even less information is available regarding its use as a line post for electric fencing.

Personally I value the information that is readily available on the internet. And, I feel that more and more agricultural producers are using the internet to research and purchase products. If I type in “electric fence post” into a Google Search I get somewhere over 1.3 million impressions. If I type in “composite electric fence post” I get only two impressions, and both are from our company. I guess our work is laid out before us – education & information!

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About Gary Duncan

Gary has been active in the fence business for over 15 years. He also raises Highland cattle in a management intensive grazing system and was the first person to market the PasturePro post back in 2005. He enjoys discussing all things grazing and is the main contributor to the blog.
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2 Responses to What is a “Composite” Fence Post?

  1. avatar Ed Kling says:

    I am wondering if there is a composite post out there that is very strong and won’t bend in the hot summer sun? Composite railroad ties seem to be like this but it seems to me that regular posts for fencing are not stiff enough. Any info on this?

  2. avatar Gary Duncan says:

    Hi Ed,
    Thanks for your comment.
    We like the flexibility of our posts, and this flexibility works well for high tensile electric fencing, as a line post.
    I will assume that you are asking about composite corner posts or a post in a 5″ to 6″ diameter.
    Although we could probably make an oriented composite of that size, the cost would be so high that we dont feel that it would be marketable, based on price.
    There have been some 6″ composite post available in the post. I think most were made of recycled products. They are extremely heavy and freight was an issue as the ones I knew of came out of Canada. they did bend in summer heat, as you mentioned.
    Having a 6″ insulated corner post, that wouldn’t bend, would be grand. Maybe someday…….

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