Whether you're debating the decision to enclose a new area of your farm or simply want to replace an aging fence that has begun to look shabby, you may be investigating your options in fencing materials. With advances in weather-resistant technology, there are now more choices than ever before. How can you make the most of your budget to choose the perfect farm fencing? Read on to learn more about your options and the factors you should consider when making your fencing decision.

Vinyl board fence

If you'd like a low-maintenance fence that will last virtually forever, your best choice is a vinyl board fence. Many PVC and vinyl fences incorporate a special UV-protective material, which can help prevent fading or cracking for decades and also don't require any painting or sealing after installation. These fences are available in a variety of colors and are nearly indistinguishable from wooden fences except upon touch.

In general, vinyl board fences are your most expensive fencing option, ranging from $15 to $30 per linear foot (including installation costs). However, the low maintenance requirements of this type of fence can make it a good choice for busy farm owners who would like the look of a beautiful, flawless fence.

Wooden board fence

These fences are among the most aesthetically pleasing -- for proof, you need look no further than the miles of white wooden fences on the gorgeous thoroughbred farms of central Kentucky. Wooden farm fences are generally installed in either board or split-rail style, consisting of evenly-spaced vertical posts with several horizontal slats between each post to prevent animals from entering or exiting.

When installing a wooden fence, you'll need to sink the posts into a thick layer of gravel or concrete -- if you place posts directly into the soil, even weather-treated posts will begin to rot and decay after a few years. Placing a protective barrier between the wood and soil can help ensure a long life for your fence.

Wooden board fences are significantly less expensive than vinyl fences, coming in at an average cost of $7 to $10 per linear foot of fence (or up to $10 to $15 when factoring in labor costs). If you love the look of a wooden board fence but need to fence in a large area, you might consider using a wooden board fence for the areas of your property that are viewable from your house, driveway, or road, using more inexpensive wire or electrified fencing for less-visible areas.

Woven wire fence

A much less expensive alternative to vinyl or wooden board fencing is the use of a woven wire fence. This fence is composed of evenly-spaced supportive posts with a large-woven wire mesh between the posts, allowing fresh air while preventing physical movement from one side of the fence to another. Although these fences are sometimes considered less aesthetically-appealing than wooden or vinyl fencing, they are one of the most cost-effective options for enclosing a large area, and cost an average of only $1.93 per linear foot.

Electrified or barbed-wire fence

Your least expensive fencing choice is a barbed-wire or electrified metal fence. These fences are more similar to board fences, with several strands of barbed wire or smooth electrified wire between the posts. If an animal or human touches the fence, he or she will receive a slight shock. This quickly discourages curious animals from attempting to escape or damage the fence. Barbed-wire or electrified fences are available at an installation cost of only around $1.48 per linear foot; however, this doesn't include the cost of electricity to keep the fence active.