What’s six feet tall and could improve a farm’s productivity by 30 per cent? It’s not a farm worker, but a 10,000-volt, $12-a-metre exclusion fence at David Ingram’s Dellicknora property in remote East Gippsland.

Key points:

  • Feral animals have taken livestock and damaged a property in East Gippsland
  • To quell the losses, a landowner has built a big new fence
  • Across more than a year of trials, the fencing has been 100 per cent effective

Mr Ingram, his wife Julie, and their family believe that keeping native animals, wild dogs and pigs out of their property could lead to a 30 per cent increase in farm productivity.

The Ingrams first battled wild dogs coming onto their property and taking their sheep.

With an increasing number of sheep being lost to the pest, they sold out of sheep to buy cattle.

But now wild pigs are increasingly of concern.

Exclusion fence showing promise

“When we bought the property there was a conventional timber electric fence, but it wasn’t of the new design with a bottom wire electric,” Mr Ingram said.

“It had served its purpose but it needed renewing. So we decided to go with the total exclusion fence.

“It’s six-foot high, has steel posts, steel strainer posts, and we did 2.1 kilometres from our neighbour’s boundary through to the Bonang River.”

A farm fence built using old conveyor belt, roofing iron and big metal supports crosses a creek.

The new exclusion fence on David Ingram’s property crosses the Dellicknora Creek.(ABC Gippsland: Peter Somerville)

Mr Ingram said it has shown promising results.

“In time, to get the whole property done, we’re looking at 28 kilometres — which won’t be done overnight.

A paddock of green pasture with deeply rutted soil. A mob of cattle graze in the background.

David Ingram says feral pigs tore up paddocks and heavy machinery will need to level the ground again.(ABC Gippsland: Peter Somerville)

A costly addition

At more than $12 a metre, 28km of exclusion fencing will not come cheap.

“Initially when you do the figures you sort of go ‘oh, that’s a lot of money’, but it is worth doing,” he said.

The Ingrams’ property is also in a fire-prone area adjoining public land.

“We’ll have a bit of wire there that’s not completely cooked that we can strain up and run a couple of wires and keep our stock in our property.

“They’re worth a few bob so they’re certainly worth keeping in our paddock.”

Posted , updated 

Why did this farmer build the great fence of Dellicknora?
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