Field visit learns benefits of exclusion fencing

“Keep it simple” was the top take-home message from the exclusion fencing field trip held recently to Euchareena near Stuart Town last week.

Organised by Biosecurity Officer Ethan Goninan, the event involved a tour of exclusion fencing on the Wykes family 4,750 acre grazing property.

Alongside his parents, brother and families Brett Wykes runs sheep, cattle and some goats and said they got started with the exclusion fencing to control grazing pressure and to hold feral goats for longer to sell at convenience.

“We were catching goats in the river country and thought it would be good to be able to hold them for awhile, so we fenced out a couple of paddocks and it worked so well we kept going,” Mr Wykes said.

“You could really see the difference when we could keep everything out. We can control our grasses now whereas before we were losing everything.

“We fenced the scrubbier parts off, originally the first three kilometres were funded through a Local Land Services program however since then we have self-funded.”

The Wykes’ have trialled different types of exclusion fencing from renovating existing fencing using both hinge-joint and plain wires but found the most successful for them was a 15/150/15 prefabricated stock grip with a hinged apron on 2.4 metre posts giving a total fence height of around two metres.

They also use electric wire on both sides at the bottom of the fence to deter pests from digging underneath and a high conductive wire to transfer power along the fence above the stock grip.

“This also helps with feral deer as they have a habit of using the fence to rub on at rutting.”

Mr Wykes said the 2021 cost for material (not including the electric fence costs) was around $10/m, with an estimated increase of at least 25% given the rise in steel prices.

“That’s not including assemblies, the strainer stays.”

“Long term we see iit will have huge benefits and easily pay for itself.”

Being able to manage pasture and grasses in paddocks and pest-animal control were the major benefits Mr Wykes saw.

“In a few paddocks before we fenced the roos were coming in and cleaning up everything.

“Wild dogs are just starting to get into the river country and the other side of the river,” he said.

“We could see a problem coming.

“We’ve had problems with deer, feral pigs, kangaroos and now with dogs coming it just seemed logical to fence.

“We also get the goats to help control the woody weeds.”

Being able to access the creek on both sides meant he could concrete-in posts and continue the fence across a waterway.

“We’ve had a couple of logs tear a patch or two in the mesh but so far we’ve been pretty lucky.

“It’s a maintenance thing as is any floodway.

“The fence is only as good as its weakest link.”

Keeping the layout as simple as possible was Mr Wykes' main tip for anyone thinking of implementing exclusion fencing.

“Follow the major ridge lines and keep it as simple as possible because every time you go up and down its harder to do and harder to maintain.”

Anyone wanting more information on managing pests can contact Central West Local Land Services invasive species team on 1300 795 299.

Media contact: Jane Phillips 0455 023 764

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