After working in the cattle breeding industry for over 15 years, no challenge is too big for Adam and Jacynta Coffey, founders of Coffey Cattle Co. Originally from Tasmania, the duo travelled around Australia before moving to the Northern Territory in 2006. It was there that their cattle breeding journey began.
“[Cattle breeding] is something that we have always wanted to be involved in. I guess we don’t have any generational backing, which can be seen as a negative, but I guess it also means that we aren’t set in any particular way and we’re pretty happy to take on new ideas.”
“We were working in ag management… Obviously, it’s pretty hard to break into property ownership, but we worked hard, and we had some lucky breaks along the way. We eventually bought some cattle up north and built up our numbers through agistment on other people’s places and that basically gave us enough equity to buy a place ourselves.”
“To have a fence that you can log on, check the voltage, alarms etcetera… It’s a pretty good thing.”
The Coffey family moved from the Northern Territory to Queensland in late 2016, where they renovated a failed timber plantation into their family home, including enough pasture to expand their business.
Adam has been using electric fencing for the last 8-10 years. His current electric fence, used primarily for stock management, consists of a single wire placed at nose height for his cattle, supported by timber posts. Greater stocking densities and increased rest periods are a priority for his property. To power his fence, he is using JVA’s Electric Fence Station and SV10.
We asked Adam a few questions regarding his electric fencing techniques, and this is what he said:
Have you noticed any differences between your electric fences in the Northern Territory vs Queensland?
“No, look, we have cleared all the timber plantation now, so really, we’re just dealing with open pasture. But we’ve got a lot higher rainfall down here. We certainly have got some creek issues in terms of fencing and subdividing paddocks, so you go through a lot of creeks which presents a few problems, with them being wiped away every summer. But outside of that probably physically speaking, not a lot of difference between here [Queensland] and the Northern Territory. The earthing in this country is probably a bit better because you don’t have such a long dry… Increased moisture is a good thing down here [Queensland] because we get a good earth wherever we put it.”
In your opinion, what is the greatest benefit from using electric fencing?
“Cattle, once they’re educated to an electric fence, don’t have any problem. So, if you think about the setup, costs, time and money of the conventional three or four barb and picket fences ... you know the picket spacings are probably more like 8 metres in the barb fences instead of 20-25 metres in the single wire fence. It means we can roll out 3k of single wire in a day whereas we could probably only do one kilometre of conventional fencing."
“[Fencing] is pretty important to us…. we have to keep them all in the one place.”
“You know, when they get used to it, stock probably have a lot more respect for an electric fence than they would have for a barbed fence the majority of the time. And we’re just using single wire electric fencing so it’s quick to run out fences. One of the key ways we manage our property is to be able to rotate our cattle fairly regularly and also get long rest periods in our paddocks so we can increase our pasture and soil health. Hopefully things get better and better from there.”
Have you experienced any issues while using electric fencing?
“If you are setting up permanent electric fencing it’s better to do it right in the first place. We’ve been in a bit of a rush here, and had substandard joins and under-gates, gateways etc, that do come back to bite you in terms of losing current or shorting. So, I guess, for me, setting up properly in the first place is a good move, save you heart ache down the track”
Do your cattle tend to test the fence?
“Only if we have it off, or we let the voltage get low for an extended period of time, they will figure that one out.”
“But the way we rotate our cattle every year, we are never anywhere they want to get out. We provide them food and water and supplement and everything they need in the paddock, and they are shifted before they need to go looking. In that sense, we don’t put a lot of pressure on the fences. If there’s an instance where we have a fault, before you know it, the cattle will be walking through it like it’s not there. You got to keep the voltage up.”
How are you finding JVA’s products?
“Great! I like the products; they are easy to use. I did have a battery problem with one, but you guys replaced that, no questions asked. I really appreciate that.”
What made you choose JVA’s Electric Fence Station?
“We were just after a permanent unit… The remote monitoring system, it’s a great thing. I mean to me, it’s the next best thing to virtual fencing, which is what everybody’s talking about. But to have a fence that you can log on, check the voltage, alarms etcetera… It’s a pretty good thing.”
“I was impressed with Pauls presentation at that workshop a few years ago, and I thought, well, you have been into it for a long time. It’s not like you came into it yesterday. The people at JVA have obviously got the skills to be building the products and servicing the products.”
What is your favourite feature on our product?
“Oh, gee! I don’t know! Probably the remote monitoring, that’s a biggie.”
What advice would you give someone starting out with electric fencing?
“It probably goes back to what I said earlier, make sure you set it up right ion the first place, don’t cut any corners, and make sure you got a good earth. It is all about earth.”
Adam and his family try to support Australian whenever possible.
“If there’s an Australian product out there, I’d like to support it, over and above an overseas competitor. Don’t get me wrong, their products have got to be as good, or better. I think that there is room for a good quality, Australian made product.”
If you would like to read more about Coffey Cattle Co., we encourage you to visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoffeyCattle. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for his advice and support!