Athenry sheep fencing demo: 'The idea was to show farmers how far their money would go'
At the recent sheep open day at Teagasc's Athenry unit there were a number of different fencing options on display.
"The idea was to show farmers how far their money would go, depending on the quality of the materials that they were using," says Philip Creighton.
"None of the costings include the cost of labour, which could vary a lot from farm to farm."
It is clear from comparing the Athenry costings with those of FRS (which include the supply of all materials and erection) that farmers can save themselves up to €2/m if they can take on to do the job themselves. FRS's Robert Birney (right) has noticed a shift by farmers in the last 10 years towards doing more of the erecting themselves.
"About half of our sales now are pure retail - in other words the components for fencing, as opposed to the all-in package.
"It's probably related to the downturn, when lads found themselves with more time to tackle these jobs," he thinks.
However, Mr Birney says that the quality of fencing that FRS contractors do requires a good deal of expertise that not every farmer may be able to manage.
"Even the way that we finish off looped ends of wire is designed to maximise the life of the product. We aim to complete about 250m of sheep fencing per day with two men."