Vet's Test Unearths Impact of Kangaroo Scourge - Featuring Angus McKinnon, VIC

VETERINARIAN Angus McKinnon always knew there were kangaroos around his property in the hills near Euroa, Victoria.

But it wasn't until he conducted a simple test that he realised the extent of the impact they were having on his pastures.

"I run cattle in the hills, so it's fairly rough country, pretty heavily covered with trees, it's very steep," he said.

In a bid to combat his kangaroo problem, and to keep his 400 Angus cattle from wandering on to neighbouring properties, Mr McKinnon has installed 4km of upgraded fencing using the 1.5m mesh product from Clipex.

"Even paddocks that we had locked up from cattle still had the same amount of feed in them as the paddocks that the cattle were grazing — in other words, the roos were keeping the feed down on the paddocks that were locked up," he said.

Mr McKinnon said he constructed small cages inside the paddocks on his 1820ha property to help assess the level of grazing by kangaroos by comparing feed growth inside and outside those cages. He said the results were "startling".

Clipex national sales representative Stafford Olsson said a minimum fence height of 1.5m would be recommended for farmers hoping to keep out kangaroos and feral dogs in particular.

He said most of the pressure kangaroos would apply would be on the bottom 1.2m of a fence, but there would be a "reasonable percentage" of kangaroos that would go over the top.

Mr Olsson said a lot of people had the mindset there was no point in putting up a fence until they had "a lot of feed to protect", but there was a rise in the number of people putting up fences to keep out kangaroos in the past few years.

"I don't think a lot of people realise how many roos or ferals are actually running on their place and how much feed they probably would have, or could benefit from if you get some rain, if you didn't have them on the place," he said.

"It's a bit hard for people to imagine what it could be like because they've never seen a land that's not under pressure, particularly in Victoria.

"As things have become more competitive, at the end of the day the sums work out if you protect the feed you've got, the fence will pay itself off quite quickly."

Mr McKinnon planned to continue to use Clipex products to fence another 40km of boundary and internal fencing on his property, and the clips pinning the wire to the post saved installation time and made it easy to re-strain.

Written by: Hannah Driscoll - The Weekly Times

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