Farm Management

Natural disaster brings opportunity to try new methods

Father and son Eddie and James Rovers had been successfully running 340 dairy cattle when a shocking bushfire in 2014, forced them to rethink what they did on the farm.

The farmers from Invergordon, 30 kilometres north-east of Shepparton in northern Victoria, have turned to cropping wheat, barley, oats and canola until the farm can be made ready for livestock again.

“We had 2,500 acres (1012ha) burnt out, lost 40km of fencing, a heap of hay, sheds… It was just a shocking day,” Eddie Rovers said.

All the pine posts were gone and concrete posts were cracked and shattered, but the steel posts were still standing so they decided “it’s all got to be steel”.

“There are many benefits to steel fencing products, but the main one from our point of view is the ease of installation,” he said.

“Unlike installing pine posts, there’s no need to hook up the post rammer or anything like that. You just back the ute up, hook the fencing trailer up. Fifteen minutes and off you go.”

Mr Rovers uses Waratah Jio Star and MaxY posts spaced every six metres, at a ratio of 5:1 to increase strength and stability, combined with Stocktite pre-fabricated fencing wire and a line of 1.8mm barbed wire on the top.

Mr Rovers has also been very impressed with the Jio clips used to hold the wire in place.

“We’re using the clips to hold the wire on, and have been very happy with those thus far. If a roo or other feral animals hits the fence, it’s just a case of going back and simply clipping the wire back on,” he said.

“If you have a tree fall down, like we had happen, it’s just a case of lifting the tree off, re-clipping, pulling the Jio post straight — job’s done.”

Mr Rovers said he’s tried cheaper imported brands in the past, but they did not stand up to the Australian made Waratah products.

“People say buy Australian-made dairy products, buy Australian-made food. It’s the same for fencing products,” Mr Rovers said.

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