Farm Management

Steel over hardwood for Whelans Run

After a bushfire tore through Whelans Run, property manager Trent Howell noticed the only surviving fences were made out of steel, and the hardwood posts had perished.

“After the fire, the only fences capable of holding in cattle were the steel ones. That was when we swore to replace all the hardwood fences with steel ones,” he said.

Mr Howell runs 200 Angus breeder cows on the 500 hectare property, near Buchan in the South-East Gippsland area. He said installing quality fences is an important part of the operation and changing to Waratah steel products boosted both quality of fencing and the ease with which it can be installed.

“The country around here is undulating and hard-digging,” Mr Howell said.

“Hardwood fences are hard to put in and a tractor needs to be used to dig postholes. The country around here is very steep and it’s difficult to access parts of the property in a tractor.

“The steel fences are easier to install as they involve less digging and are lighter to carry without using machinery.”

Although initial costs of steel fences might be more expensive, Mr Howell said the investment required varied little from the installation of hardwood, with superior results.

“If you factor in the labour and time of building a hardwood fence, the long term costs compared to the steel are about the same,” he said.

“It’s way easier and less time consuming to put steel fences up than hardwood fences – you can get a lot of these done in a day.”

Another reason for changing fencing materials was due to the damage migrating wildlife, typical of the area, were inflicting upon the fencing on the property.

“The old fences would be constantly damaged by wildlife trying to get through but the new steel fences allow wildlife to go through them without causing any damage,” he said.

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