Tailored Westonfence keeps wild dogs out at Cunnamulla
"We've slowly got a few (wild dogs) coming in, so the idea is to try to slow them up before we get too many."
Creating an appropriate barrier for wild dogs before they became an issue is working for "Metavale", south-west of Cunnamulla in the southern Queensland Outback.
The area, in the Paroo Shire, came under fierce wild dog pressure in 2002, after nearly 60 years without the devastating feral pests. Quick action 15 years ago saw numbers drop, and "Metavale" manager Cameron Campbell says they wanted to prevent them becoming a problem again.
"We've slowly got a few coming in, so the idea is to try to slow them up before we get too many."
Cam has managed "Metavale" the family business since 2014, while his brother Ross Campbell has managed nearby "Waihora" since 2009, along with their uncle Rob Campbell at "Overshot" since 2005. Together, the three properties total some 101,250 hectares (250,000 acres).
Cam says, "We manage the three properties in conjunction really. We run it as a mixed grazing enterprise running predominately black-headed Dorpers along with a handful of Droughtmaster and black Angus cows."
Seeing increasing numbers of wild dogs come in, they looked around for a solution.
Preference over huge exclusion fence
"The people next door to us had some Westonfence. We went and had a look, and saw how quickly and easily it went up, and thought it that would be the best for us.
"We wanted to get a boundary up pretty quickly to slow the wild dogs up. That was pretty much the quickest one we could find. We also thought it would be a lot easier maintenance-wise than some really big exclusion fence."
Starting in 2015, the family began with one boundary fence. With the operation going smoothly, they finished whole boundary â€“ some 36 kilometres â€” then started on internal fencing with the Westonfence.
"On the boundary fences we're using the D10 ISPs [Insulated Suspension Posts] but we've gone a little bit bigger than the recommendations for the spacings. So instead of 10 metres with the steel posts and ISPs at 3.3m, we put a steel peg every 21m and then just put an ISP every 7m.
"We did the first bit like that and found that was quite adequate; it's still nice, good, tight fence down the track and was easy to install."
The company is powering the fencing with Gallagher M10000 i Series Energizers.
Cam says, "They work really well. The first one that we did just runs off mains power, but the next couple we're running off solar units and they're working really well too.
"Because those M10000 i Series Energizers have the fault finders and alarm, it makes it very easy for us. You don't have to spend all day looking for one fault over kilometres of fencing; it tells you exactly where it is."
Once the boundary fencing was complete they began replacing internal fencing, again using Westonfence, but this time the D7 ISPs recommended for controlling the more goat-like Dorpers.
"For the internals, we generally had a seven-wire fence, with three barbs and a steel peg every 10m. We wanted to put the Westonfence internally to replace that and to break the properties into sections a bit more and manage the kangaroos.
"This fencing makes it easier to manage our stock, and keep them in their breeding groups.
"Obviously Dorpers go through fences a bit. A few lambs were getting through the old fencing and then we'd miss them that muster. If they grew into rams they'd join to the ewes and were sort of mucking our lambing. With this electric Westonfence, it just helps contain all that and we're getting a lot more even lambing and a better product, basically.
"As we get more of our internal fences up, we're keeping out the roos which will give us a bit more feed, which is obviously a huge benefit for us. We can run a few more sheep because of that too."
Cam says overall, is an excellent solution.
"The fence is enabling us to increase a few sheep numbers, keep the sheep in, and keep more dogs out."