Fire-resistant fencing droppers

Veld fires have costly consequences for farmers’ fences, but a recycled plastic compound may offer a lasting solution in the shape of fire-resistant fencing droppers.

“Devastating veld fires ripping across the South African landscape result in multi-million rand damages to farmers annually, ranging from loss of vital grazing resources, fences, livestock, infrastructure and often loss of life,” says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).

Costs associated with getting farmers back into business following run-away wildfire disasters start with replacing hundreds of kilometres of fencing, without which it is simply not possible to affect agricultural activity, and this is where costs soar, as fencing is a vital but expensive investment. Coupled with the real risk that follow-on fires may well destroy what has just been replaced, a recycled plastic compound may offer a lasting solution in the shape of fire-resistant fencing droppers. In the process, a sustainable use and market for tons of redundant and wasteful plastic are developed.”

Says Meiring, “Following the destruction that was the 2017 Knysna and 2018 Outeniqua wildfire disasters, the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), in collaboration with Eastern Cape-based Thembane Recycling, has now succeeded with the development of a range of standardized fire-resistant fencing droppers, made of a recycled commercial plastic compound.”

According to Meiring environmental management entities in countries like New Zealand have for years been recycling plastic for alternative uses such as fencing droppers for agriculture made from recycled plastics. A range of fire-resistant and environmentally friendly droppers is now available to all farmers in South Africa.

“South African farmers have the perpetual threat of destructive wildfire impacts to contend with when putting up fences, and deal with the decaying effects of rain and wind, splitting, rotting, insects and fungi on wooden droppers as found in many parts of the country.”

“Whilst precious water and mined resources are used perpetually to produce millions of steel and wooden fencing droppers for farmers, hundreds of kilometres of plastic cabling sleeve are becoming redundant in South Africa annually. Recycling this product into fire-resistant fencing droppers can save farmers a fortune over time, and offer a viable and recyclable solution to something which otherwise will never disintegrate to a point where it can be absorbed by nature,” says Meiring.

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Photo: Replacing fence lines following wildfires can be costly. Fence droppers produced from recycled commercial plastic is a sound investment and offer farmers a fire-resistant option to replace wooden droppers.