Increased production and mental wellbeing adds weight to exclusion fencing

Wendy and Ross Groves no longer feel the mental strain from wild dogs attack

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Exclusion fencing gives south west producers piece of mind.

FISCAL sustainability of local communities is a key goal for South West NRM when establishing exclusion fences, and other positive side effects have emerged such as improved mental wellbeing.

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Cluster fencing: It takes away the mental strain is how Ross and Wendy Groves describe the Clifton exclusion fence between Quilpie and Windorah. Picture: Supplied.

Cluster fencing: It takes away the mental strain is how Ross and Wendy Groves describe the Clifton exclusion fence between Quilpie and Windorah. Picture: Supplied.

Within the recently completed Clifton Exclusion Fence, between Quilpie and Windorah, landholder Wendy Groves says she longer feels the mental strain now she and Ross have an exclusion fence.  

“We knew wool as a golden fleece but then we knew it as blood stained fleeces,” Mrs Groves said.

“It is heart wrenching for a man to see the slaughter of his sheep and we were emotionally taxed.”

As the chaos of wild dog attacks unfolded on their property and continued to disrupt their lives, the couple would speak candidly at community events about what they experienced in the paddocks.

“We were never going to let it die easily,” Mrs Groves said.

“We didn’t have the option to fence our 128km of boundary and were at a loss of how to find a victory.”

From the real nightmare of slain sheep at the jaws of wild dogs, the Groveses searched far and wide to find the answer to the bloody mess; a search that took the pair down a path known as transformative resilience.

Transformative resilience is the process in which an individual, group or community improve through a setback, which involving transition through six steps: comfort zone, disruption, chaos, discovery of a catalyst, movement to a new reality, and finally, comfort with new changes in place. 

The exclusion fence will help reduce wild dog attacks and allow for increased livestock production; in effect an exclusion fence will promote sustainable production of beef and wool.

Conversations with neighbours about pest management were not necessarily gaining traction; acceptance of wild dog attacks on sheep and its ghastly side-effects were not the catalysts that got the exclusion fence project up and running.

“We couldn’t sit there just talking about this, have to try something.”

At their first meeting to incorporate a cluster, Mrs Groves asked stakeholders to come prepared with a figure on how many stock they wanted to run in a best-case scenario.

“The purpose is also for increasing financial ability, longevity of the place and keeping kids on the land, not mining.”

Neighbours rallied behind them in support of an exclusion fence, jointly funded by South West NRM and RAPAD.

Through South West NRM’s consultation and support the family realised their mission of a completed exclusion fence in December last year.

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