Tediousness taken out of fencing

Hugh McKay awarded the Australian Wool Innovation Award for his 'Smart Fencer'

Hugh McKay won this year's AWI Innovation Award with his Smart Fencer invention. Photo supplied.

Hugh McKay won this year's AWI Innovation Award with his Smart Fencer invention. Photo supplied.


Fencing could get a whole lot easier with this invention from a Henty farmer


Imagine if fencing simply involved driving alongside the fence line once and letting a machine do all the hard work for you.

This is the reality, 25-year-old Henty sheep producer, Hugh McKay wanted to create with his invention, Smart Fencer.

The design was originally part of a final year Swinburne University project, Mr McKay inspired by a feeling many farmers can relate to, a dislike of the tediousness of fencing.

"I'd done a fair bit of fencing, helping out Dad, and wasn't too fond of that and thought there must be a better way of tackling this," he said.

The machine works by first recording the GPS coordinates of the strainer posts enabling the machine to then calculate the final position of the fence. Then once the first strainer is connected, the posts are automatically put into the ground and the wires run out as the trailer carrying them is driven along the fence line. Once you get to the end of the line it can be tied off and you can go again.

"The main idea is to stop having to go up and down the fence repeatedly. Rather than having to do your sight wire, barbed wire, your posts and ring lock all in different rounds, you can just have one trailer that runs along and it builds a fence in one clean sweep", he said.

Smart Fencer took out this year's Australian Wool Innovation Award, giving Mr McKay a $20,000 grant to build his prototype, which he aims to have completed within the year.

AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said Mr McKay's innovation offers a solution for what is often back breaking work.

"It has the potential to positively impact all Australian woolgrowers by reducing the labour hours and physical nature of fencing work," Mr McCullough said.

While Mr McKay predicted the invention could also significantly increase efficiency.

"At the moment, if you do a few kilometres of fencing a day it would be a pretty good effort for a small team, but if you could get this up at walking pace you could be looking at being able to do a number of kilometres an hour," Mr McKay said.


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