Home' Smart Farmer : April 2012 Contents April 2012
The Gripple wire and tensioning device is a simple way of joining two wire-
ends and tensioning the join. It requires a Gripple tensioning tool and is
suitable for gauge wires which can be re-tensioned year after year.
N recent years, farm fence main-
tenance has, to some degree,
been put on the backburner for a
number of reasons, not the least
being the big reduction in the num-
bers of livestock being run on many
properties and the big switch to con-
tinuous cropping adopted by many
Whatever the reasons, there are
still some legal requirements for
property owners to properly main-
tain their fences, particularly bound-
Long gone are the days of hand-
operated post hole diggers and long-
handle shovels. These have been
replaced with less back-breaking
tractor-mounted equipment such as
post drivers and a host of other
items that make fencing and fence
maintenance simpler, easier and a
more pleasant job to undertake.
With the introduction of high-ten-
sile wires, treated and concrete
posts, not only has the life span of
fences been increased the demands
of maintaining them have decreased.
For a fence to be effective and
long-lasting, a regular maintenance
program should be an ongoing man-
The frequency of this program will
be largely determined by the design,
its construction and suitability for
the job, the materials used and
stocking density if holding or
restraining livestock is its purpose.
Most of the small holdings in the
Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu
Peninsula are the result of larger
properties being broken up and
buyers taking or leaving the existing
Maintaining the layouts or altering
them to suit the type of enterprise
being planned - whether it is all
cropping or all livestock or a mix-
ture of both - needs careful plan-
The market has many tools and
equipment to make fence layout
alterations and fence maintenance
just that much easier.
If it is intended to extensively
revise the fence layout, the best
advice here - to avoid a lot of hard
hand work - is to call in a profes-
sional contractor with the right
mechanical equipment to drill the
pre-entry holes and hammer the
posts into place and, perhaps, com-
plete the fencing job by attaching
the wires and straining them.
If the job in hand is purely main-
tenance, you will need a few items of
equipment and hand tools.
The list here can include post-
pullers for removing unwanted
posts, hand-operated post hole-dig-
gers, two-handled dirt extractors,
hand-operated post hole drivers, a
wire spinner for feeding out the
wire, a set of wire strainers, a wire
joining tool (Gripple), a pair of fenc-
ing pliers and some staples or vice
bite items among one or two others.
A couple of points worth mention-
ing here are that high-tensile wires
make for a cheaper fence of good
quality but is more difficult to tie
and repair though it can retain ten-
sion better. On the other hand, soft
wire is easier to tie and repair,
requires less tension but costs more
and requires more posts to hold it
up.Fabricated fencing, if properly
erected, may last longer but depend-
ing on livestock pressure, may need
more frequent re-straining.
If it is purely a maintenance job,
then the major tools required will be
a set of wire strainers, a proper pair
of fencing pliers and a joining device
such as a gripple tool and some grip-
If some posts need replacing, then
a good puller will be handy as will a
twin-handle shovel to clean out the
hole or if shifting the post, a hand-
held-and-operated post hole digger.
Where some wires have to be
replaced, a good wire spinner will
make the job easier and quicker.
The biggest concerns with fences
come from livestock pressure and
from 'temporary' manipulation to
cater to moving the bigger and wider
equipment from one paddock to
The more common use of high-
tensile wire can cause this strong but
brittle wire to break, particularly
with sudden changes in weather
Tools take tension
WITH harvest activities completed and the opening rains for a new season still a little
way off, it is a good time to catch up on some fence maintenance work.
with DAVID EAST
A good pair of wire cutters is a must
when erecting and repairing fence
The traditional MacDonald single-wire strainer is now available for Ringlock-
type fabricated fences.
A spinner is essential when running out strands of wire. The one in this photo has
an extended centre pole and can feed-out two rolls of wire at the same time.
The Essential First Step.
Log onto www.1100.com.au anytime or dial 1100 during business hours to request information on underground pipes and cables -- BEFORE you dig.
It's the essential first step of safe excavation.
TAKE A STAB?
Take the guess work out of digging. Locate underground pipes & cables first.
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