Electric fence monitoring saves time

Sept. 9, 2022 | 5 Min read
South Australian farmer Charlie Crozier has two main reasons for using the Tru-Test Fence Monitoring system on his 840-hectare property in the state’s southeast – for peace of mind and to save time.

South Australian farmer Charlie Crozier has two main reasons for using the Tru-Test Fence Monitoring system on his 840-hectare property in the state’s southeast – for peace of mind and to save time.

The Croziers have lived at Narree Downs, about 20km east of Keith since the 1950s and run a self-replacing flock of 2000 Dorper ewes with three lambings every two years. A third of the farm is set aside for cropping, silage, and hay production, while the other two thirds is sown to pasture.

South Australian farmer Charlie Crozier uses Datamars Tru-Test Fence Monitoring system
on his 840-hectare property for peace of mind and to save time. 

Mr Crozier said, “in farming, time is money,” and since the system was installed six months ago, Tru-Test Fence Monitoring had proven to be a valuable investment.

“We run an extensive amount of electric fencing for rotational grazing and prior to installing the Tru-Test system and mobile app, we spent half an hour every few days checking fences. Now we have nine nodes set up across the farm monitoring one or two paddocks at a time 24/7,” he said.

Connectivity the key to performance

As sole operator of the property, with occasional help from daughters, Poppy and Edwina, he said the oversight provided from the Fence Monitoring system is invaluable.

“If there’s a drop in performance and output of the fence it notifies us on the phone, then we know we need to do something about it. So, peace of mind has been the main reason for adopting the system, and the fact that wherever we are in the world, we can monitor what’s happening at home.”

It took about half a day working with Datamars Livestock regional representative, Jimmy Ellis, to set up the plug and play system. The two worked together to plan out where to position the nodes, so they were in line of sight of each other and monitoring as few paddocks as possible, to make it quicker to pinpoint problems.

Easy installation

“We’re running about 300-odd km of single wire electric fence. The nodes can’t be more than 500m apart, probably the optimal is 300–400m apart, and within reason the more nodes you can put in the more useful it is,” Mr Crozier said.

“It’s a very robust system. The nodes are just a little solar panel with an aerial on it and screw-on connections, one to earth, one to the hot wire, screwed to wooden posts or droppers, or whatever we’ve needed to (to mount it).”

Prior to installing Tru-Test Fence Monitoring, Mr Crozier would manually test the electric fencing three times a week as he moved around the farm, to detect any weaknesses.

Output drop trigger alert

Now it’s just a matter of checking the app, which shows a map of the farm and nodes, and lights up a fault in red. The system can handle many shorts at a time, and Mr Crozier has predetermined what level of output should trigger an alarm.

“Most of the time the fence is averaging 8kV. Once ours drops below 5kV, the phone will alert us. Another bonus is that Tru-Test reads throughout the system rather than at the end of the line,” he said.

Integrates with all fences

“With this Tru-Test app I could be anywhere in the world and switch off the fence and monitor its outputs,” Mr Crozier said.

“And a really big selling point is that it works with many different fencing systems, not only Datamars Livestock brands. I’m very conscious of having ag tech that integrates into our Wi-Fi system, so that I don’t need to put my hand in my pocket to pay for connectivity every time I add a new technology to the mix.

“We’re only just on the launch pad for technology in ag. Remote monitoring means the world is our oyster, that’s where the opportunity and excitement is to improve our farm’s profitability, productivity, and sustainability. Using Tru-Test is a no-brainer for me.”

Categories Fencing, livestock handling & ID Merchandise