Gallagher Westonfence strikes blow to ferals on gun shearers property
Despite being very close to state and private bushland, Peter and Kacee Artridge began keeping feral dogs out of their south-eastern Riverina property with three wires on a Gallagher Westonfence.
Peter says, “We started with one wire on standoffs, and after a while upgraded to the Gallagher Westonfence system because we had been so impressed with the effect of feral-animal control. Some friends who have Gallagher Westonfence advised us to do that as well.”
The Artridges have been on the 521-hectare (1,287-acre) “Banoon” at Mullengandra for 20 years, with some occasional help from their two sons, who work in the area, and their “globe-trotter daughter”.
“We run a 1,500-head Coopworth flock, selling most of our lambs to a feedlotter. We also trade in cattle from time to time, if the prices and seasons are right.”
Coopworths have excellent mothering ability and high milk production, regularly achieving more than 140% weaning rates for the Artridges.
Their protective nature has also seen them fend off some feral animals, but it’s a not a trait the Artridges want to test too much.
The former chairman of Sports Shear Australia Association Inc., whose father Stan was also a gun shearer, says as soon as they saw the Gallagher Westonfence, they liked it.
“We liked the Gallagher Westonfence idea straight up, so once we saw it we didn’t look around to compare any more: it’s simple, effective and easy to erect.”
To date, the Artridges have used Gallagher Westonfence on three-quarters of their boundary, powering it with solar.
“We have two and three hot wires and one cold wire on a sloping fence attached to most of the boundary – some of which is neighbours’ stand offs – and we’ve also used seven-wire Gallagher Westonfence for paddock subdivisions.”
The result has been an enormous reduction in feral pests.
Peters says, “We now have no dogs and almost no roos, which means there’s a lot more feed left for us!"
“The impact on productivity has been dramatic in our back country: there’s 600 acres [243ha] of hill country we’ve fenced that struggled to run 1,000 Merino wethers when we first came here. Now, with pasture improvement and the Gallagher Westonfence, we fatten lambs and cattle on that same country. The difference is huge.”