The devastating bushfires in South Australia and Western Australia in November 2015 are a stark reminder of the extreme dangers of life on the land, but also of how proactive farmers need to be in response to a crisis.
Cootamundra mixed cropping and livestock producer Richard Hicks knows this better than most after 60 per cent of his farm (700 hectares) was burnt by bushfires in December, 2013.
With more than half of his cows and calves (70) needing to be moved onto agistment, and the remainder sold off, Mr Hicks was desperate to have his boundary and internal fences replaced straight away so he could work towards restocking his property.
“I sourced the expertise of local fencing contractor Jeremy Storrier, who managed to knock over the job in about three months, once the insurance was finalised. He did a terrific job, working seven days a week to get it done,” he said.
“It’s taken a while, but we’re getting back towards our 2013 cattle numbers. I’m just grateful we were able to get it done so quickly, particularly with the way the cattle prices are now. It’s a great time to have cattle.”
But behind every good tradesman, there’s an even better product according to humble fencing contractor, Mr Storrier.
“Waratah products were the only way to go with a job of this size that needed to be completed quickly,” he said.
Through consultation with Waratah territory sales manager Richard Le Lievre, they decided to use Waratah’s Adjusta-stays and Ezypipe Strainer Posts, which are both easy to install and fire resistant.
“Both products require no digging and can be installed in less than five minutes with the correct tools,” Mr Storrier said.
Mr Storrier’s son and employee Luke Storrier installed 20 Adjusta-stays in the space of two hours, saving Mr Hicks thousands of dollars in labour costs.
“It would have taken two employees the entire day to do the same job using conventional strainer assemblies,” Mr Storrier said.
He was also impressed with the ability to easily redo the stay if the post moved during the installation of the fence.
“And unlike conventional strainer assemblies there was no need for us to weld, which was music to my client Richard’s ears straight after a bushfire,” he said.