Where I live t-posts should last forever. It's too bad that I didn't buy more years ago when I first moved out of the city. I did buy a lot as I needed about 300 of them when I fenced the property. Unfortunately this wasn't enough. Over the years I've fenced off individual pastures and used t-posts in the garden. I've bought some here and there. I've noticed that the heavy duty posts aren't as heavy duty as they used to be. I want them to last forever. I also don't want them to bend when I'm pounding them in or pulling them out. Good quality posts don't bend easily.
A couple years ago, in the front pasture I planted more fruit and nut trees. I also put the sheep in this pasture. They ate all the young branches and leaves off the trees. I cut some cattle panels (16 foot heavy duty) in half and made an eight foot square around each tree. It didn't occur to me that the sheep would push the panels towards the trees and eat the leaves and branches. They did.
I purchased one t-post per enclosure. They were called heavy duty but they certainly weren't the same quality as the ones I had purchased years earlier. I figured that they would still keep the panels in place. That wasn't enough because the sheep were smart enough to push the panels from the square pattern to an irregular quadrilateral and get to the trees.
The next season I didn't have money for extra posts so I pulled up some of the posts in the garden and moved them to the front pasture. I also cut up a few more panels to make these five sided enclosures. Each enclosure had two posts securing the enclosure in place. I figured with this new pattern the sheep wouldn't be able to push the panels. This didn't work as the sheep figured out which corner of the enclosure to push on. They ate the leaves again. I ended up securing the corners of the enclosures with old 2X4s and branches. This worked as a temporary fix. At least the trees were getting a good root system even though they kept losing their leaves and young branches.
This year I decided to do it right. I had some extra money over and above my spare $98 that's going for ammunition. I was in the city and went to Lowes to pick up some t-posts. I wanted 20. Two more for each enclosure. They had a huge stack of them. As I looked at them I noticed that they were even more flimsy than the ones that I had bought a few years earlier. Looking closer I could tell there were two brands. It was easy to pick out the two because the ones with the bright white paint at the top was heavier duty than the ones with the cream colored top. After further observation, the better quality ones with the white paint were made in the