Quick-to-build Westonfence ‘keeps stock where they should be’
Jock Richmond describes himself as “quite fastidious” when it comes to stock being where they should be.
The fourth-generation farmer has been running Rose Grange Pastoral Company at Little River near Victoria’s You Yangs, for 20 years with his parents.
The large-scale mixed farming operation turns off Angus cattle at 320 kilograms carcass weight, includes a prime-lamb enterprise, and crops canola, wheat and barley.
Being one of Victoria’s driest regions south of the Great Dividing Range — the Otway Ranges create a rain shadow that sees just a 450-millimetre average annual rainfall — competition for grass is strong, so feral animal pressure can be high.
With a massive influx of kangaroos, the Richmonds were looking for a better fencing solution to traditional hardwood droppers with treated pine posts.
Jock says, “Several years ago our fencing contractor, who was the late Mark Jordan-Hill, said to me ‘I’ve got a bit of an idea, I think you should try it’. Mark was just fantastic at what he did, so I pretty much I backed anything he used to say; that’s why we went ahead and did it.”
The idea was to use Westonfence — a concept Mark had come across in his travels to Central Western New South Wales.
Pioneers see ‘massive success’
“We were Mark’s first clients to try it with him, so we pioneered Westonfencing in our part of the world.
“We’ve been using it ever since.”
Rose Grange uses Westonfence for both internal subdivision and stock control, as well as an external kangaroo exclusion fence, which they customised to suit their needs.
“I’ve never been a fan of offsets in electric fencing. So not having an offset carried great appeal to me in trying the Westonfence.
“There were anywhere up to 200 roos at a time on this particular property, and now if there’s one or two, that’s it. It’s been a massive success.”
Fast and powered
It’s the same story for internal subdivision.
“It’s fantastic. Just our ability to contain stock because we are putting so many wires into it, with some hot, is great.
“The real advantage of the Westonfence is being able to get a lot of fencing up quickly. In our part of the world you’re dealing with small paddocks — 30 or 40 acres [12 or 16 hectares]. If you’re out in Northern NSW, with those big, big paddocks, it’s quite different. But to get a couple of kilometres up here in a few days is quite fantastic.
“The other thing is the fact we can get power in there on that type of fence. So from weaning lambs to any other stock, we’re just not getting the pressure — or the wear and tear in general — on the fencing because of the power.”
The Richmonds are using a Gallagher i Series energizer. “We’ve tried solar too, but the answer for us here is using mains, and we can do that quite easily.”
Jock says, “We like our livestock being in the paddock they’re meant to be in; we don’t like them getting out of their mobs. For us, it’s pretty important that when we put them in a paddock, they stay in it. We don't need to find animals and redraft them back into mobs.
“For us, the proof is in the pudding: like anything, there are places where I wouldn’t use it, but Westonfence is a pretty important part of our fencing program.”