BUSHFIRES not only wreak devastation in the short-term, more often then not longer term implications are the loss to critical fencing, further hampering pasture recovery.
For Western Australian grazier, Mick Muir, recovery from fires means protecting pastures.
Mr Muir runs Shorthorn-Angus cross cows and a hay-making operation across the Peel region of south-west WA.
In 2016, bushfires caused about half a million dollars in damage to fencing and infrastructure Mr Muir’s property, ‘Culburra Downs’ near Waroona.
Mr Muir said he and wife Helen had not anticipated having to deal with such a damaging bushfire.
“We lost 300 round bales of hay, two large sheds, two hay balers, a tractor and all our pastures were destroyed,” he said.
Mr Muir said while stock losses were minimal, most of the fencing was destroyed, making it a priority.
“After the fire it was important that we got our fences back up and running to keep our cattle numbers secure and exclude feral animals from eating the new pastures,” he said.
Mr Muir said he installed 18 kilometres of internal steel fencing to aid recovery of his pastures and cattle operation.
“Having the new fence gives me better control over my operation and I’ve implemented a pasture and stock rotation program which has also worked well,” he said.
“Good internal fencing has kept my pasture rates accurate and has given me freedom to sell my cattle in peak condition when the market is good.”
Mr Muir said he used Waratah fencing, and was particularly impressed by the Adjusta-stay strainer assemblies as they were quick and easy to install.
“The overall design and structure of the fence was exactly what we wanted.”
Mr Muir said volunteers were instrumental in getting his business back on track following the fires.
“We had plenty of support from many volunteer organisations, including Pinjarra Rotary Club who helped us pull down the old ruined fences, and BlazeAid volunteers who helped us install the new fences,” he said.
“We also had support from Waroona Lions Club, Red Cross, numerous local Church groups, and we received donations of hay from a number of farmers, which enabled us to keep our cattle alive.“
Mr Muir said the fencing project was supported by the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce and the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, which is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
“With the help of Elders Waroona and Waratah this situation has improved immensely,” he said.
“The high quality Waratah products gives us a secure long-term fence and we are looking to continue our fencing plan over the next three years.”
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