Livestock

Hard job made easy

By Country News

A dislike for fencing on his family farm in Henty has inspired Hugh McKay to develop an automatic fencing trailer.

It’s a project inspired by hours spent fencing on hot days.

‘‘I always thought it was a very slow, tedious process, moving back and forth up the fence a number of times,’’ Mr McKay said.

‘‘It’s probably my least favourite thing to do on the farm, especially in the middle of summer.

‘‘A lot of effort goes into it and, at the end of the day, if you’ve done 200 metres, that’s a good day’s work.’’

Mr McKay studied product design and engineering at Swinburne University, and previously worked for Adshel in Melbourne.

In need of a break, and with his parents glad of an extra pair of hands during the drought, he returned to the family farm a year ago.

But he couldn’t help applying his product design background to the fencing trailer.

Using the Smart Fencer trailer begins with placing your phone or controller where you want the fence to start and end.

The system calculates how many posts to load up, depending on post spacing, length and distance.

‘‘Once you’ve got all your posts in the machine and your wire spinner’s set up, then you just drive to the beginning of the fence,’’ Mr McKay said.

‘‘It’ll pull the fence posts out individually, bang them into the ground, tell you to go forward and build the fence as you drive along.’’

Mr McKay was recently announced as a recipient of a Science and Innovation Award from Australian Wool Innovation, with the award allowing Mr McKay to develop a working prototype of his trailer and hopefully get it into production.

He estimates that investing in a fencing trailer would pay off within a few years for an average farm, and greatly reduce the time and labour needed for fencing.