Farm Management

Road safety prompts fence re-think

Cattle producer Justin Stevens with Amanda Day from Elders, Esperance, standing next to a Waratah fence, which is successfully preventing cattle from straying onto the highway near Mr Stevens’ Kalgoorlie property

The safety of both the public and livestock came to the forefront of Kalgoorlie producer Justin Stevens’ operation when he lost thousands of dollars’ worth of cattle due to substandard fencing.

Following a number of incidents, it became clear to Mr Stevens that action was needed. He installed new fencing technology to increase the safety of motorists and reduce cattle deaths on the highway.

Mr Stevens operates ‘Mount Vetters Station’ a 200,000 hectare property on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie where he runs 700 Shorthorn-Droughtmaster X breeders with his wife and five sons.

“We’ve lost thousands of dollars’ worth of cattle along the highway where they’ve pushed through fences. The fence was at the point where it wasn’t worth patching up anymore and the risk to traffic along the highway was too great,” Mr Stevens said.

“We needed a strong fence to keep our cattle in and that’s why we installed Waratah fencing because there’s no substitute for quality.”

Since its installation in late 2013, the four-line Iowa barb fence has been tested many times and the results have spoken for themselves.

“The strength of Waratah products has meant we can worry less about losing cattle. We had bulls go through the new fence and it has held up with no damage,” Mr Stevens said.

“The fence was easy to install and, due to the long-life quality of the steel, it won’t need replacing for a long time.

“When we were budgeting costs for the fence, we found in the short term the cost of labour and product was more expensive but in the long term it was more cost effective because in our view these products simply last longer than others and require less maintenance.”

For Mr Stevens choosing Waratah products came down to one major thing.

“You only want to put up fences once in your lifetime, and they need to last for generations to come,” he said.

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