The NSA Sheep Event had plenty of livestock-orientated gear on show, but fencing equipment seemed the overall theme. Emily Padfield was there
Gloucestershire-firm Protech was showing its latest tracked post driver. It’s powered by a 48hp Yanmar engine, uses a Poclain hydraulic drive, has 400mm wide tracks and a true 18deg slew either way.
There’s a 350mm backshift on the main frame and the chassis has been widened for added stability. A hydraulic mast leg keeps things steady as well as being able to hydraulically alter the angle of the 300kg post driver.
This top of the range one-man unit costs £35,000 and had already been sold to a fencing contractor in Norfolk.
The ProFencer by Derbyshire-based Allan Froggatt can be mounted on a tractor front or rear three-point linkage or on the front of a telehandler.
Two clamp mechanisms keep the wire taut, and there are seven hydraulic functions that include self-loading wire, height adjustment, side-shift and clamping. Capable of handling stock fence from 530mm to 1.2m, the ProFencer is able to tension up to 500m at a time. There’s also a 2m high deer fencing attachment that can be interchanged.
Mr Froggatt used his experience of over 30 years as a fencing contractor to design the multi-purpose machine with the aim of making fencing quicker and easier.
“It can be a one-man operation, but ideally it works quicker if you have two. It benefits contractors both in terms of effort and cost, as there’s less joining and overall, it makes he whole job quicker. I have had contractors tell me that the machine pays for itself within 14,000m.”
The ProFencer costs £6,900 and there’s also an attachment for rewinding used netting, barbed and plain wire for disposal.
Rotten fence posts are the bane of most livestock farmers lives, particularly as they now barely last five years without some sign of rot, thanks partially to the ban on arsenic timber treatments.
But Australian-developed steel Clipex posts (main picture above), which have been available down-under since 2007, could be a viable alternative, says UK supplier McVeigh Parker.
Clipex’s steel posts have a 30-year guarantee and in many cases are expected to last up to 50 years. And this guarantee belongs to the owner of the fence, not the contractor, says the company’s Graham Turner.
“Each post has a series of forged clips that allows netting and barbed or plain wire to be locked into place,” he explains.
There are three grades of post to choose from: Eco, Standard and Beefy. Each is Y-shaped with parallel flanges, which ensures a consistent gauge throughout, adds Mr Turner, and are made from 450 grade high-tensile steel. The steel differs from 2.5mm for the Eco to 3.5mm for the Beefy, and the overall size of the beefy is slightly larger.
Posts have a backing plate at ground level to prevent any chance of it bending under strain, as well as a flange beneath the ground to make it near impossible to pull out.
Strainers and wire are the first things to be secured and tensioned half way, and posts are then driven in at even spaces between.
Clipex Stayfast strainers come with a strut that locks into the post, a pressure plate and a pin that goes through this plate into the ground. A brace wire and tensioner completes the triangle from the pressure plate to the strainer itself, which also has an anti-lift flange underground.
Specialist wire, which is supplied by McVeigh Parker, is then pushed into the clips and locked in place. The fence is then fully tensioned until the tension curves in the wire are correct and the fence is fully taut. Electric insulators can be clipped on for electric fencing, too.
“With posts at 2.5m spacings, netting, two barbed-wire strands and strainers, you’re looking at £2.82/m. That’s roughly 30p a metre dearer for the materials than a conventional fence but you have a true 30-year guarantee,” says Mr Turner.