Ranfurly farmers Karl and Ro McDiarmid run 5,000 ewes and 1,500 hoggets and finish 700-800 bulls a year on 1,330ha in the Maniototo. It is a busy operation. Recently the couple put in two new pivots and converted 150ha into intensive techno grazing.
On average the couple replaces between 1 and 5 kilometres of fenceline annually, using seven-wire fencing for existing fences and netting for added security
on all new fencelines.
Keeping fences up to scratch is important on the farm. Karl says poor fencing can undo some of the processes they have put in place.
“If a fence fails, mobs can box up. Depending on the time of year, that might mean twins and singles getting back together after they’ve just been scanned and drafted.”
Karl and his one other staff member manage most new farm fencing and fencing maintenance. He estimates they do 95 percent of all fencing jobs using existing farm labour, only calling in a contractor when they are under the pump. To speed things up they bought a Stockade ST400i cordless power stapler. Karl says it has lived up to its promise of speed and reliability.
“It’s quick and light – anyone can use it. It’s awesome gear and pretty easy to change over from a hammer to power. You get a lot more done in a day and you can keep going for a lot longer. You don’t get a sore arm after doing a kilometre of staples. You can keep going the whole day.”
The ST400i and the insulator guide attachment has also helped increase power around the property, adding a single electric wire with ease. Karl says the whole family has had a go. He’s even talked about the tool with his mountain-biking mates. “I told one of the guys ‘You need one of these if you are doing any fencing’. He bought one. He must have been happy with it because he’s now recommended it to someone else.”
Karl says the cordless stapler is also good for keeping farmers engaged. “Most of those older fellas don’t like using technology. They can be reluctant to take on something that’s new, whereas something like the ST400i makes their life so much easier.” After 50 years on the land, Grant Geddis from Waipiata is exactly one of those farmers keen to stay hands-on, with a couple of hundred acres to “keep him out of mischief”. Not to be outdone by osteoarthritis, Grant has picked up an ST400i to tidy up old fences and run more netting and hot wire across the farm.
“We have used it a fair bit. I have to keep it off the young fella. He thinks it is a toy for him. I got it for myself. It is ideal because I couldn’t hammer like I used to. Put in place, pull the trigger and ‘Wow’ the staple is in, even in hardwood. It is a great invention.”
You don’t need to be a contractor to get value out of the ST400i. “It is quite an investment but it pays itself off pretty quickly. You have to be able to justify it. If you are doing a week of fencing or longer a year, it is going to pay itself off, and it is so easy to use.”