A Herefordshire farmer has come up with an easy-to-apply protective coating for wooden fence posts that he reckons could double their lifespan. Called Tuffdip, it uses an emulsified bitumen that is liquid when kept away from the air but turns hard once it’s dry.

Fence posts can be left to soak briefly in a drum of the product or it can be brushed on, says Dulas stock farmer Michael Fenton. It then only needs 10 minutes of soaking of that part of the post that will be underground plus another 100mm, after which it’s drained and allowed to dry.

Drying time varies from two hours in ideal conditions to 48 hours in cold weather with high humidity. Once cured, Tuffdip is said to seal the whole of the treated area of the fence post against rot and moisture.

The product is available in smaller sizes of five litres (£40.20) or 25 litres (£156) right up to 200-litre drums or a 1,000-litre IBC (prices on application). Five litres should cover 80 posts, he says, and 25 litres should cover 400 posts. At that application rate it means that cost per post is 40p, but should double the lifespan of the post.

Tests in Northumberland showed that even where posts were driven into stony ground, that part of the bitumen coat that is in contact with the wetter soil around and just below the surface of the ground stayed intact and waterproof.