FENCING is often regarded as one of the toughest and most important jobs in the agricultural sector.
The thought of it often conjures up feelings of being out in dry, dusty, hot conditions and being smothered in flies as you sink another post into the ground.
However, one northern fencing contractor has aimed to break down that stigma, with his very own creation.
Alan Blaik, who is based near Rockhampton, created his own fencing machine, after entering the sector in the mid-1980s', out of an old Bedford truck he had at the time.
That old Bedford featured an automatic transmission, and towed a compressor as well as a wire-running trailer.
The mechanism allowed the now 77-year-old Mr Blaik to fence solo and in the following months he completed 800 kilometres worth of fencing before eventually retiring the original machine, due to it being difficult to transport over long distances.
"When I first started, I was a bit the same as everyone who gets into this game, we were in drought, I was share farming on a property at Giru and I had spent plenty of money planting and I needed to get money quickly," Mr Blaik said.
"Luckily, a fellow wanted 54 kilometres of fencing done at Hide Park Station, half way between Charters Towers and Clermont, so I grabbed a couple other young guys and we went and did it.
"Unfortunately those other young fellows I had with me got a bit sick of it, which meant that I was flat out keeping it going and doing it properly.
"So I thought, I'm going to build a machine to do the bulk of the hard stuff and not be so reliant on the extra help."
After using the Bedford in the early days of his operation, Mr Blaik decided to once again get inventive and create a smaller machine.
"The problem with that first one was that it was very hard to shift because I had put an automatic Holden motor on it, so I could drive it from outside," he said.
"From there, this little Daihatsu came up, which a mate of mine, who was into hydraulics, helped me set up.
"It's all self propelled, I drive it from the side and don't get into it other than to move it from paddock to paddock.
"It's got a big hydraulic pump on the front, which drives the log gear and then a big hydraulic motor in the back of the transfer case, which does the driving.
"All I've got is a control to make it go forward or put it in reverse and I also have a throttle, but it rarely changes."
The updated machine has since allowed Mr Blaik to complete more than 3000km of fence, 162 road grids, 17 sets of cattle yards, three-double deck loading ramps, 360 gates for Powerlink as well as several sheds.
Recently, Mr Blaik posted a video of his machine in action on social media, attracting more than 20,000 views.
"In terms of fencing, I stopped counting when that little machine hit 2200km, but if I had to have a guess, I would say it has probably done more than 3000km now," he said.
"It just idles all day, doesn't give me any trouble
"I tow a 100-cubic-foot compressor, so it's got a big jackhammer on a slide up, which is quite tall to allow me to drive 2100cm pickets as well as 1800cm pickets.
"A hydraulic ram pulls the really big jackhammer up, I've also got some dollies that allow me to put maxi posts in and things like like that, I lower it over the picket and it drives it in within 10 seconds.
"It's also got a side shift on it as well if I'm a bit off the line."
Mr Blaik's creations haven't stopped at his fencing machines, having also built a trailer concrete agitator in 1999.
"Since building that first one, I have built five more for graziers across the district as well as using my one to repair windmills, install tanks, troughs and pipelines," he said.
"I'm currently building one for David Black at Bajingo Station near Charters Towers after I built him a trailer-mounted concrete mixer."
Currently using his expertise at Tartrus Station, Mr Blaik said he was hopeful other prospective fencing contractors may enter the industry.
"I'd love to see more people get out there and give it a go," he said.
"If someone took some inspiration from this machine then that would be fantastic.
"I think it's a wonderful industry to be involved in and hopefully more young people get out there and get into it."
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