No betting on the effectiveness of Gallagher Westonfence
In the past year, Gallagher Westonfence has saved contract fencer Nic Crompton $100. Countless times.
“I’ve made this bet many times: every time I teach someone, like a new staff member, how to tie off the Westonfence Insulated Suspension Posts they go, ‘Oh, is that all it is?’. So I always say, ‘I bet you a hundred bucks you can’t move it.’ Everyone always reckons that’s easy money, but not one’s been able to move a post. I’m a pretty big bloke, and I’ve given them a fair nudge, and I can’t move them either.”
Nic has been working as a fencing contractor for five years, running Nic Crompton Rural Fencing for three. Based in Murwillumbah in far north-eastern New South Wales, the business services a wide area from northern NSW into southern Queensland.
Last year, McGregor Gourlay Procurement Manager David Toms introduced Nic to Gallagher Westonfence, inviting him to a Gallagher Field Day hosted by the rural reseller and agronomic services group at Inverell.
“The day was run by David Clothier from Gallagher and Duncan Abbey from Westonfence. After the display and run down of the fence I was immediately convinced that Gallagher Westonfence would be more effective at both stock control and exclusion than anything else offered.”
Since then, Nic has installed 87 kilometres of all configurations of Gallagher Westonfence as well as many kilometres of leaning offsets. “We’ve installed Gallagher Westonfence for all applications and situations – exclusion, internal subdivisions, perimeter fence, house fence to keep in dogs, you name it. Predominantly though, it’s been to exclude ferals from cropping country, with great success.”
Nic says the efficiency of the fencing is driving its popularity in the area.
“It’s making ripples throughout the agricultural world at the moment: more and more people are talking about it and putting it up. At the moment, Gallagher Westonfence is 75% of all my work; I’m hoping to build on that because my long-term goal is to be purely a Westonfence installer.
I am an advocate for it because – repeatedly – once installed, clients call and tell me how effectively the fence is working: from exclusion on chickpea and wheat paddocks, or holding cattle when installed as feedlot pens. Plus, it’s the cost effectiveness of Gallagher Westonfence for subdivisions for cattle producers. Exclusion fences off feed or crop is vital in today's climate and markets, and the cost effectiveness of Gallagher Westonfence overall is a big one here.
“We’ve also installed a few Gallagher Solar Energizers now with great success. In some situations, it allows us to configure a paddock or laneway, for example, more effectively without the need for mains power.”
Nic says the Gallagher Westonfence has application in every agricultural sector.
“Coupled with Gallagher technology – like the fence monitors and remote fault finders in the i Series Energizers and all the wireless technology – it’s a complete package. And it can achieve any desired outcome with minimal maintenance. This gives farmers, my clients, peace of mind and frees up their time to focus on more important things.
“That’s one of the biggest advantages for me: the fence’s ability to actually ‘talk’ back to the farmer when there is an issue. It is the only fence that I know of that will actually let you know when there is a fault.
Set up correctly, following Gallagher specifications, there is no need for the farmer to waste time checking fences or stock, because the fence will let them know this, saving time. And time is money. “
Nic says setting up the fence correctly is vital to it being effective.
“There is a very simple process to putting a Gallagher Westonfence up. But, unless you know what that process is, there are a few easily made mistakes that can quickly impact on its effectiveness – things like return-earth systems, wires linked in parallel and ISP configuration. For people who want to do it themselves, I recommend attending a Gallagher Field Day for the step-by-step demonstrations.”
Nic happily recommends Gallagher Westonfence to clients, but never tries to talk them into it.
“It’s a very hard fence to explain to someone. If a client is interested, then I say ‘righto, jump in my car and we’ll go and have a look at one I’ve installed and I can walk you through it’. The concept is different, so it can especially be harder for the older generation to grasp.
“It can get really technical to explain. We can go into ohms of resistance per kilometre per strain of wire – which changes for every diameter size of wire, plus the coating on the wire – and how many ohms of resistance we’ve got to keep the entire job to, plus amperage and earth-fault leakage, and all this sort of stuff.
“I don’t talk to the clients too much about how we set the fence up because all they really want to know is that they have a highly effective fence.
“But how we set the fence up is actually really important, so I work pretty closely with Gallagher Territory Managers and the reseller to get all those calculations right. It can only be a small error, but the long-term effect over the fence can have a big impact. So that’s why we make sure all those calculations and everything else is a 100 per cent.”
Nic works with three Gallagher Territory Managers across his business’s vast stretch – Rodney Newton (northern NSW), Chris Richards (south-east Queensland and north-eastern NSW) and Jayson Webb (southern Queensland) – as well as David Clothier (Regional Sales Manager for North East NT, Queensland and northern NSW).
“They’re a great point of reference as well for any troubleshooting; the technical support is really good.”
Nic says northern NSW and southern Queensland fencing has tended to be barbwire, mesh and netting.
“I don’t like the idea of barb-wire and some of the others can be really expensive. On top of that, maintenance is an absolute nightmare around that sort of fence. You imagine a 400-metre strain of mesh, pulled tight with a tractor, and for some reason it breaks in the centre: you’re going to have a hell of a time trying to strain it back together, with no belly wires, no salvage wires; it makes a huge mess. Not to mention, I’ve seen dogs climb it, pigs run through it and kangaroos dig under it in 24 hours.
“The difference is these sorts of fences are a physical barrier: just trying to stop an animal going from one side to the other. But a powered Gallagher Westonfence isn’t a physical barrier, it’s a psychological barrier.
“And that’s one of the best things about it. There are going to be times when big mobs of animals travel and hit a fence. You can see them coming. They have to be educated before they respect the fence; and when they hit it, they realise what it does. When a mob of 10 pigs comes hauling at a fence – even a mesh fence – they’re going to hit it and tear a big hole in it, and then you’re going to have all sorts of dramas because there’s a thoroughfare for them to go through and come back. The beauty of the Gallagher Westonfence being a suspension fence, is that they can hit it and pop out the other side. Copping 12,000 volts for their trouble means they keep going: they don’t want to come back.
“It’s really effective at protecting fodder and crops and it’s really cost effective too.”