Understanding the costs and benefits of exclusion fencing - Riverside station, Booligal

Jim, Robert, Ed and Alison Crossley manage a 60,000 hectare property near Booligal and have undertaken a large scale fencing program to better manage feral pests on their land. They have a dorper enterprise which also increases their need for stock proof fencing.

The Crossley's have implemented this big capital expenditure to set the property up for future generations. So far around 60 kilometres have been installed and a total of 150 km will be complete by mid 2022. This work limits the impact of wild dogs, pigs and enables better management of total grazing pressure to increase their overall profitability per hectare.

This infrastructure means they can implement rotational grazing to improve their plant species diversity, better manage rest periods and total grazing pressure, which will create greater resilience in dry times.

Find out more about this project in this short video developed through the Farm Business Resilience Program, a partnership between the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the Future Drought Fund, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services.


Jim Crossley:

We're here today at Riverside Station, at Booligal.

The total size of the property is about 60,000 hectares.

The fences that we're putting up now should see my sons out and be here for my grandchildren.

We undertook this fencing program for several reasons.

The main one was the influx of wild dogs.

We've got a wild pig problem, which we can control with the exclusion fencing, and we tried to do rotational grazing.

And we're finding the total grazing pressure was a was an issue with wildlife moving into paddocks that we stopped.

So far, we've got about 50 or 60 kilometres of exclusion fences in the middle of next year, we should have about 150.

The main benefit so far have been controlling pigs and enables us to do a rotational grazing, which already is showing benefits and better biodiversity of the plant species.

Robert Crossley:

We're anticipating that they are stocking rates are going to go up by about 10%, and I think that's pretty conservative looking at the way the exclusions have been working in other areas.

We believe that in the next 25 to 30 years time, the fence is still going to be there, the way we're designing, the way we're building it.

It's going to give us the real benefit, especially running into dry times, it might buy us a month.

But that might be the month that we need until we get the next rain.

Once you start sitting down, then really crunching the numbers, it all just adds up.

It is a big cost, an outlay to get it done, but the benefits are well and truly there in the long run. It's costing us $17 a hectare to put it in
and we're budgeting on $50 hectare out the other side.

That's work and time, but it's going to pay off very quickly.

Jim Crossley:

When we normally have fences inundated with floodwater, after two floods, they are in pretty poor condition and the third one you'll need to replace
wires that have been knocked about.

We've got some of this blue wire that's been through two floods now, and just in the third, and there doesn't seem to be any deterioration so far.

So obviously the maintenance on our fences in the flood country is going to be considerably less.

Robert Crossley:

I suppose that if you look back with the previous generation has always been something big that's been done and this is the big part that we're doing
that's hopefully going to be the legacy going forwards that we're setting up Tom's Lake, Riverside and Torriganny for the next generation to be able to manage these issues going forward.

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