Murchison Regional Vermin Council
Location – Murchison, WA
Length – 552km (Ongoing)
Application – Exclusion Fencing
The Murchison Regional Vermin Council (MRVC) is responsible for the rehabilitation and maintenance of a portion of the No 1 vermin fence which stretches from the south coast of WA to the northwest coast of WA. It was constructed in 1907 to attempt to stop the spread of rabbits from the East. It is a critical piece of infrastructure for pastoralist in the area to control wild dogs.
Local pastoralists were dealing with a crippling population of wild dogs who decimated the sheep and cattle industry, conservatively estimated to be costing around $45m per year, on top of the emotional stress experienced by many. Lambing was down 50-60% and wool cuts down around 20%. The average annual loss due to wild dog attacks was $90,490 per property.
The challenge was securing adequate funding to build an economical fence that would give pastoralist control of their country and revitalize the dwindling sheep and cattle industry in the region.
Ashley Dowden (Challa Station) and Jorgen Jensen (Yoweragabbie Station) worked closely with Mark Clarence (Southern Wire) to design a fence that would exclude wild dogs and give maximum return on the investment for the MRVC. Together it was decided that a custom manufactured 12/104/15 Fastlock plus apron would be best suited to the application. This was installed with a single row of barbed wire above the fence for additional security. The apron is critical to the success of the fence by hindering the dog’s natural preference to dig underneath and the 15cm picket spacing stopped any pushing through.
Additionally, this was a more cost-effective solution than a full height kangaroo exclusion fence meaning that the secured funding was able to be stretched further.
To date Southern Wire has supplied over 550 kilometers (600,000kg) of fencing, gates and posts and continues to work with the MRVC and local pastoralist to further secure the future of the regions sheep industry through better fencing programs.
In 2014 there were over 500 dogs destroyed in the Murchison region. Today that number is significantly less. With 55 pastoral leases enclosed, the sheep industry is well and truly alive in the region.
“We always found them (Southern Wire) good to deal with…any issues were resolved and being made in Australia was a plus…Our rep Mark was good to deal with, really approachable…The quality of the fence is good. The design is more than adequate. The oldest section has been up for 9-10 years now and is performing very well.” – Jorgen Jensen (MRVC Chairman)