Going against the grain in timberland - 12 November 2014

When there’s a plant just up the road producing pine fencing posts, the majority of farms tend to feature timber fences.
However, Winchelsea fencing contractor Mark Jordan-Hill has managed to successfully challenge the habits of many of his regular farming clients around Geelong in Victoria and convince them that quality steel posts will save them money in the long run.
“Traditionally this area is known for using timber posts, partly because they’re cheaper to buy and transport from the local plant compared to many steel fencing products,” he said. 
Mr Jordan-Hill now has four major ‘all-steel’ clients who own large properties in the region.
“Their properties range from about 2000 to 3500 hectares, which keeps me busy for the majority of the year,” he said.

“I’ve been contracting in this region for the past nine years, and to date I’ve installed about 600kms of fencing. And over the past two years, about 120 km has been all-steel fence lines.
“While the steel posts can come at a higher cost, they also let me put up the fence in a fraction of a time, so for clients the outlay is no more than for timber.”
Mr Jordan-Hill said there are multiple benefits from the quality and durability of the Waratah fencing products he uses, which save his clients time and money in the long run.
“They last longer, which means fewer repairs and less maintenance. They’re also resilient to bushfires and can handle the rocky terrain,” he said.
Mr Jordan-Hill is currently working on a fire-proof Weston style fence design for one of his cattle producers who, like a lot of his close counterparts, is prone to bushfires.
“We’re using a combination of JIO® MaxY® posts at 10m spacings and eight plain wires with four plastic droppers per span. We then clip the Weston droppers to the MaxYs,” he said.
“The idea is that when a fire does come through, the inexpensive droppers will melt, but the structure and core of the fence will remain.”
According to Mr Jordan-Hill, the MaxY posts also thrive in the rocky and undulating country of the Geelong region.
“Last year I put up 40 kilometres of fence line in country not even a horse would go over,” he said.
“But using the pneumatic post driver, we were able to drive the MaxYs into hard sedimentary rock-based soils with no real problems.
“The job would probably take twice as long, if you tried to use timber posts in those sorts of conditions. Pre drilling and driving treated pine posts is very time consuming.”