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Beyond the Bale : September 2014
30 ON FARM Woolgrowers who tuned in to a recent webinar run by AWI’s Leading Sheep network in Queensland learnt a wealth of practical tips on how to use electric fences to help keep wild dogs and other feral animals off their properties. For those who missed it, the ‘Electric Fencing – The Ins and Outs’ webinar was recorded and is available free on the Leading Sheep website www.leadingsheep. com.au to anyone across the country. The guest speakers at the webinar were Rob Doro from electric fencing manufacturer Gallagher who has helped many producers design and build electric fences, and Alan Forrest a producer who is using electric fencing on properties at Ilfracombe and in the Traprock district of southern Queensland. Rob explained that electric fences work as a psychological barrier, as well as a physical barrier, and are respected by all animals. “The animals remember the short, sharp but harmless shock they receive from the fence and learn to stay away from it,” Rob said. “This means that electric fences remain in good condition and last longer than non- electrified conventional fences which tend to experience constant wear and tear from stock and pests. “Electric fences are a very cost effective alternative to traditional fences and, depending on fence design, can be erected in a shorter period saving time and labour. Savings may also be made on material costs, again depending on fence design. “But it’s not always all about building a brand new fence, electric fencing can also be added as extra protection to existing conventional fences. While electric fences can be very effective at feral animal control, it is important that the system is designed correctly. This involves consideration of the best options for post and wire placement, but more importantly having a system that will have minimal maintenance or performance issues whilst maximizing effectiveness. “Initial planning, design and proper advice will determine the overall success and effectiveness of their use for animal control,” Rob warns. “It’s like building a house – you have to get the foundations right – so talk to people that have been in the industry some time and have proven results. Ask lots of questions before you purchase equipment and it will save you a lot of work and heartache. “Earthing is probably the single biggest cause of an electric fencing system either working properly or failing. In fact eight out of ten fencing problems are due to inadequate earth systems.” Alan Forest also advises talking to an expert and planning your whole property’s requirements prior to purchasing equipment. “Plan for all future fencing and sub-divisions, and if you don’t have mains power, install an energizer which will cater for your future fencing needs,” Alan says. “Don’t underestimate the size of the energizer you’ll need. Once you have it working, you’ll be so impressed that you’ll see lots of other opportunities for electric fencing on your property. A large energizer will give you the versatility to keep extending without having to upgrade the energizer. “Seasonal grass will also increase the need for a large energizer due to high resistance. “Invest in quality products. There are a lot of good products on the market. Talk to manufacturers or consultants, not just other producers, because there are always innovations coming onto the market, such as remote monitoring equipment that can save you time on maintenance.” If you are installing electric fencing to keep wild dogs out, it is important to do so as part of a coordinated approach to wild dog control with local landholders and integrate it with other control measures in the area such as baiting and trapping. ELECTRIC FENCES Electric fences can be more successful at controlling feral animals, such as wild dogs, than traditional fences. A well designed electric fence delivers a short, sharp and memorable shock, which provides an effective deterrent for the animal to return to the fence. PUT WOOLGROWERS IN CHARGE A well designed and constructed electric fence can be very successful at keeping feral animals off properties. Learn about the use of the electric fences from a recorded webinar now available from AWI’s Leading Sheep network. MORE INFORMATION www.leadingsheep.com.au