Agribusiness

Fence boosts Angus stocking rates

Cattle producer Ken O’Brien

The strength of new fencing technology has boosted the productivity of New South Wales cattle producer Ken O’Brien’s property near Barham, preventing hundreds of kangaroos from destroying his 32 hectares of irrigated clover and rye grass.

“We’ve now been able to increase our stocking rate by one-third, as the fencing has improved our pasture dramatically,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Since installing the 2.2 kilometre fence, I’ve only ever seen two kangaroos in the block and they jumped over the cattle grid to get in.”

Mr O’Brien’s beef operation comprises 300 head of Angus cattle, and they also operate a redgum firewood business. The O’Brien property neighbours State forest, which is a haven for kangaroos.

“It wasn’t unusual to see 200 kangaroos in a night, impacting on my valuable irrigated pasture,” he said.

The remaining pasture was also affected by kangaroo faeces and urine stains, damaging the palatability of the grass.

The fence installed was a Waratah Stocksafe T 15-150-15, with a combination of Jio Star and Jio MaxY posts spaced every 8m, plus high tensile barb along the bottom. At 1.5m, it stands higher than normal fences to prevent roos bouncing over the top.

Mr O’Brien said using these fencing products was an investment that will yield savings in the long term, due its ease of installation.

“We had the fence rolled out and put up in under two days, which is three times quicker than it would take normally,” he said.

“Initially it might be more expensive, but in the end the benefits far outweigh the costs.”

After so much success with the fence, he is now considering laying out another block of similar size within his operation.

“Before seeing what this fencing equipment could do, we were hesitant to improve this other block because of the same problems with kangaroos. Now, we’re looking seriously at developing it and we won’t hesitate to use more Waratah fencing products.”

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