AN investment in exclusion fencing is protecting grazing land from kangaroos and wild dogs, and has increased carrying capacity by up to 50 per cent for Morven graziers Robert and Beanie Mackenzie.
Their hard work was on show last month when more than 50 sheep and cattle producers paid a visit as a part of a Leading Sheep and South-West NRM exclusion fencing study tour.
The tour was organised by South-West NRM and Leading Sheep, and builds on the interest generated by South-West NRMS Collaborative Area Management projects already under way at Morven, Mungallala, Tambo and Tomoo Creek.
South-West NRM announced that Quilpie, Noorama and Wyandra districts had received priority in the most recent round of funding for Collaborative Area Management, which will enable a further three groups of landholders to address predation and total grazing pressure issues in a co-operative manner.
Leading Sheep is an initiative designed to lead the way for a more profitable Queensland sheep and wool industry through application of new technologies, knowledge and skills. The program is an important partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Australian Wool Innovation Limited, with support from AgForce.
“The fence is just part of our grazing management toolbox, but since the pressure from the roos was removed, we have been able to take advantage of every rain event, confidently lock up country and use time-control grazing,” Mrs MacKenzie said.
Their property was one of four featured as a part of the tour for sheep and cattle producers seeking innovative solutions to predator and grazing pressure control.
The Mackenzies fenced the entire boundary of their property, Moyallen, in 2009 with more than 39km of 155cm Grip Lock fencing, featuring cemented-in end assemblies and gateways, and foot netting.
“We have had only had half our normal rainfall over two years and we are still maintaining our breeding herd thanks to careful grazing management, part of which is keeping off the roos,” Mrs Mackenzie said.
“Waterways and roadways can sometimes be an added challenge when building exclusion fencing, but the floodgates in the fence have been through two major floods intact due to good design, and I hope this is something that our visitors took away from the tour.
“For others looking at using exclusion fencing, I recommend calculating the cost on a per hectare basis, rather than per kilometre, to give a more accurate idea of cost and return.
“It’s a long-term investment but we saw benefits within six months after we had rain. I think it goes without saying that maintenance is imperative, and we go around the entire boundary around once a month.”