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Pest fence improves productivity

Updated July 27, 2015 14:58:04

Graziers in western Queensland are starting to reap the benefits of exclusion fences less than three years after building them.

Three years ago, south west Queensland grazier Tim Williams built his own exclusion fence around Banff Downs, near Morven, to protect his property from wild dogs and other feral pests.

He is also part of a cluster fence built with other properties in the area.

This year he expects will be the best lambing he has ever had.

"Firstly the lambing percentages have gone through the roof," he said.

"Another big thing is your pasture regeneration and your ability to spell all the paddocks.

I have never seen the number of twins and even the odd triplet in amongst them and there are very few ewes you find without a lamb on them.

Tim Williams, south west Queensland grazier

"Even when it did get dry 18 months ago, I got away without destocking, it was getting a bit tight but I have never actually had to destock and I put that down a hell of a lot just to the reduction in kangaroo numbers.

"In a roundabout way it has made us a hell of a lot of money through the ability of not destocking and by having slightly more stock at the end of the dry then at the start of the dry.

"I have actually put a few agistment stock on so we are fully stocked plus a few more really."

Before the fence was built both feral pigs and wild dogs were attacking and killing new born lambs.

"We were just starting to fall off the cliff face with dogs and we were getting some paddocks down as low as 40 per cent [lambings]," Mr Williams said.

"In the last couple of years they have been up around 97 per cent to 100 per cent of lambs.

"This year, lambs have just finished dropping and I haven't started marking yet but it's incredible the amount of lambs.

"I have never seen the number of twins and even the odd triplet in amongst them and there are very few ewes you find without a lamb on them.

"So I am going to get pretty excited when it comes to lamb marking I think...they are looking tremendous at the moment."

We have got greatly renewed confidence, we are expanding numbers already.

Andrew Martin, western Queensland grazier

Tambo grazier expanding sheep numbers

Two hundred kilometres north of Morven, at Tambo, grazier Andrew Martin has also seen the benefits of cluster fencing.

He is part of a cluster that includes 24 properties, which has put up 300 kilometres of fencing, to enclose 280,000 hectares of land.

Mr Martin said the fence had reduced dog attacks and the impact of overgrazing by kangaroos and even though it had been up for less than a year, some landholders were planning to increase sheep numbers.

"We have got greatly renewed confidence, we are expanding numbers already," he said.

"Just the fact that we have got a lambing is a pretty good start on boosting numbers.

"Now people have the choice of having sheep and cattle, or cattle if they don't want to go into sheep."

He said the sheep and wool industry has roll on benefits for the whole community.

"In the wool industry, for every dollar earned, there is a multiplier of somewhere between $4 and $6 out in the broader community," he said.

"The first part of the broader community to benefit from that, is the local one of course.

"It gives a great deal of confidence to these traditional wool towns."

Three years down the track it has well and truly paid for itself.

Tim Williams, south west Queensland grazier

Fence pays for itself

In terms of the cost of building a fence, Mr Martin said it payed for itself in a few years through increased productivity.

"The most expensive fencing I have heard of on a per acre basis is about $2 an acre and that is totally privately funded, totally privately built, with no government assistance," he said.

"I mean if your place is worth $100 an acre, that is a pretty good investment to make...considering you will increase your carrying capacity by around about 25 per cent and you will do that with sheep inside 18 months and with cattle probably three years.

"There are properties in the Charleville area that have increased their productivity by 50 per cent.

"They are able to control the total grazing pressure, they have kept the dogs out and they have great confidence back in their sheep.

"I will have my capital investment returned to me almost fully within 18 months with sheep."

Mr Williams said he has also seen the fence pay for itself.

"Three years down the track it has well and truly paid for itself," he said.

"It is a no brainer now really, with my sheep and cattle operation.

"It is easy to say that now...when I started, you spend a few sleepless nights over it but once I made the decision and went ahead with it it has been a tremendous decision."

Topics: pest-management, land-management, animal-attacks, beef-cattle, sheep-production, agricultural-prices, agricultural-machinery, tambo-4478, morven-4468

First posted July 27, 2015 12:40:36

Original author: Lydia Burton And Chrissy Arthur



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