Westonfence separates bulls from cycling cows perfectly
Knowing they can run bulls and cycling heifers or cows side by side if they need to, is good peace of mind for Hamish and Hayley Thompson — as is not having had to fix a short in four years.
The couple runs “Belang”, 12km south of Coolah on the Black Stump Way, with some “help” from their two young children, Quinnie and Penny.
Hamish says, “As a rule, we don't run cycling heifers or cows and bulls side by side, but sometimes it occurs and we can do it with confidence because we’ve never had a problem with it.”
The reason is their Westonfencing — the same fencing that doesn’t short out if kangaroos or wild pigs hit it.
Hamish grew up on the 2,632.5-hectare (6,500-acre) property in the New South Wales Central West; his parents — who’ve since retired to Dubbo — bought the property in the mid 1970s.
“Belang” runs a self-replacing Angus herd of around 600 cows, backgrounds steers for the feeder market and has some 283.5ha (700ac) of river flats sown to oats in a rotation of pasture and lucerne for fodder production.
Appeal in no off-sets
About four years ago they began installing Westonfence for internal subdivision.
Hamish says, “I choose Westonfence because I wanted power in the fence and but didn't want stand-offs or insulators on the post. The Westonfence Insulated Suspension Posts [ISPs] were all that in one. They look solid like a post, although there is some give in the fence if something hits it.”
The Thompsons have used D7 ISPs, spaced at 3.3 metres with steel posts at 15m.
“This is further apart than the recommended 10m for steel posts and 3.3m for ISPs, but it’s fine for us; our cattle are all fence trained as weaners, and on our farming paddocks where the steers are we are starting to use the D4 ISPs, which still makes a solid-looking fence.” (The D4 is often used for cell-grazing deer.)
No shorts from roos or pigs
Previously on “Belang”, fencing was ringlock and netting; although in the later part of Hamish’s parents’ time, they had moved to three plain wires and two barbs, with stand-off and electric wires.
“These fences were good, but with the electric wire being in standoff, the kangaroos and pigs were forever shorting it out when they would run into it or try and jump it. With the new Westonfence, we still, to this day, haven’t had to fix a short in it.”
One section of the fencing is powered on mains, with a solar unit powering another section.
Hamish says, “In all, the Westonfence is very easy to install. Our country is fairly hilly and undulating, meaning our strains are usually not very long. Because we can’t access a lot of our country with a trailer, we’re putting it up, really, like the conventional way — stepping out our posts and running the wires through it each hole by hand.”
Hamish says the fence has improved their day-to-day management in a couple of ways.
“Firstly, because we don’t have to chase shorts around all the time, and secondly, because the power is always going through it, you know that when you put the cattle in the paddock, that there is pretty much a 100% chance that they will all be in the same paddock when you go to muster them again.
“Although we’re only doing internal fences at the moment, we do have future plans to do some exclusion fencing for roos and pigs using the Westonfence because we like it.”