How Far Apart Should Fence Posts Be?

When it comes to spacing out fence posts, there is an easy way (eyeball it and guess) and there is a better way. In the article below we explain what a rod measurement is and how far apart you should space fence posts.

What Is a "Rod" Measurement In Fencing?

On the American prairie where fences were constructed of posts and wire, farmers would place fence posts a "rod" (16.5 feet) apart.

In addition to being about the right distance to support a wire fence, this helped early farmers and ranchers quickly estimate the number of posts needed (80 rods is a quarter mile).

Using a "rod" layout as unit of measurement was also useful when plowing a field.

By spacing posts a rod apart, the farmer had permanent markers to use when setting uplands. Farmers took great pride in being able to plow a straight furrow.

A quicker/easier method of fencing a property could involve electric fencing. Find out more here.

If the field was level, the farmer could use the post on the far side of the field to site to when breaking out new land.

How Far Apart Should Fence Posts Be?

Fence posts are still commonly spaced a rod apart, 16.5 feet, and barbed wire still comes in "80 rod spools" (this is important when estimating cost)--so when you go into to talk about your fence, now you will understand what they are talking about and what you can expect to pay based on the total "rods" in your field.

Use this diagram to calculate the number of rods of fence to enclose fields of different sizes.


1 rod = 16.5 ft.

10 rods = 165 ft.

20 rods = 330 ft.

1/4 mile = 1,320 ft. or 80 rods

1/2 mile = 2,640 ft. or 160 rods

1 mile = 5,280 ft. or 320 rods

Video Transcription

My Measurements Aren't That Precise. What Should I Do?

Good morning, my name is Chris. I work at the Great Falls North 40. Born and raised on a farm and ranch, I worked for the North 40 back at the farm area for several years. How far apart should I place my posts? That's a pretty standard question we get asked by a lot of people. Again, there's a lot of variables. Say if I'm just doing a barbed wire fence. A standard answer is roughly 330 posts per mile. That works out to be about 13 to 15 feet between posts, but the variables there are your terrain. Is it pretty flat, everything is gonna be nice and uniform? Are you going up and down coulees? That's gonna change things.

How Far Can I Space Posts on an Electric Fence?

The other thing is, maybe you're doing an electric fence, and it's just a temporary fence. You can go a long ways between posts on electric fence because really, as long as you've got the electric fence supported on the end to keep the wires tight, the post is basically just holding the wire up off the ground. So, on a regular barbed wire fence, maybe you're going 13 to 15 feet apart. On an electric fence, maybe you're going 50 feet apart or 30 feet apart.

Thanks for watching. If you have any further questions on fencing, please come visit us at any of our retail locations or