Fencing equals $10,000 of feed - 20 May 2015

Victoria Point sheep farmer Ross Lomas estimates his grazing operation is thousands of dollars a week better off, since he installed a fence to keep out hundreds of kangaroos that were eating his pastures.

Mr Lomas had been seeing upwards of 300 kangaroos on any given night on one part of the 1000 hectare property, which backs onto Bryan Swamp near Hamilton in Victoria. 

The explosion in ’roo numbers over the past two years finally prompted him to take down the half-century old plain 6-wire fence and replace it with a higher electric fence.

Since then, he has not seen a single ’roo in the paddock. 

Mr Lomas, who runs 2400 first cross ewes, estimates the kangaroos were devouring annual rye grass and perennial pastures worth about $100 per hectare in the 100ha paddock. 

“They were eating about 500kg/ha of dry matter over the course of a few weeks. If you work on the current price of green hay, which is sold at about $200/tonne, it equates to an estimate of $10,000 in total.

“Given the fencing products cost around $10,000, I figure it’s paid for itself pretty quickly,” he said.

Mr Lomas uses a time-delay grazing system, constantly moving large mobs of ewes around the property.

“Last autumn, the kangaroos cost me about 20 days of sheep grazing time at a critical time of the year when the feed was lush and heavy,” he said.

“With the new fence up, the quality of the feed is much better as well as the quantity, and I have the flexibility to increase stocking rates.”

The specifically designed kangaroo fence is 1.78m tall and uses Waratah 15-150-15 Stocksafe-T® Longlife® pre-fabricated fence wire, combined with Tyeasy® Longlife attached to timber posts.  

“I also ran one Tyeasy electrified hot wire about three inches off the ground, to make the message loud and clear to the ’roos,” he said.

Mr Lomas said he was particularly impressed with the ease of installation, after being shown Gripple® T-Clips and the Ringmaster clip gun at a kangaroo-fencing demonstration day in Coleraine last year.

“Waratah’s fencing guru Neville Prince showed me and the 40 others in attendance how easy it was to erect the fence with some of the new technology,” he said.

“It made such a difference being able to put it up quickly and easily – and saved on labour costs.”

Mr Lomas is planning to install another 600m of fence line on the property, using the same ‘proven winner’ kangaroo fence design.