Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review

By: Brent Lilley


Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review
Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 review

A good robust post driver is worth its weight in gold on most New Zealand farms. Check out our review of the Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 from the latest issue of Farm Trader…

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to get a first-hand look at almost all models of Fencepro post drivers and have always come away impressed. Recently I got to see one of the few models which hadn’t yet seen in action. The Fencepro Mule FX 4.5 sits in the middle of the range, above the entry-level FarmTek and below the impressively well specified Ultra range of post drivers.

The machine in question was bought as a package deal with a new Duetz tractor from Maber Motors in Morrrinsville last year by Corey Norman, after seeing the Fencepro drivers at 2015’s National Fieldays.

Norman had purchased a farm near Huntly in the Waikato which could accurately be described as being in desperate need of maintenance. He has since set about the massive task of repairing and re-fencing the property to run beef cattle on. When I caught up with Norman, he was setting out a new line to fence off a recently logged pine block and I would say driving in 2.4-metre strainers is as good a test as any for a post driver.

Mast

The mast on the Fencepro Mule is 4.5 metres, which gives plenty of height for most situations with around 3.8 metre from the ground to the bottom of the post cap. Cleverly, the legs on the bottom of the machine are adjustable which give roughly another 300mm of height. A hinge point a little over halfway up the mast allows it to be folded hydraulically from the ground and brings the transport height in at around three meters.

It’s a simple operation with a lever on the hydraulic bank to operate the fold. It’s good to see a tap under the control bank which isolates the folding ram, to lock it folded or unfolded for safety. Another clever new improvement I noticed is a mechanical latch that locks the mast when it is folded to prevent it bouncing in transport.

Hammer

The hammer or weight block is the business end on a post driver. It is pretty simple really; the heavier it is, the quicker you drive the post into the ground. The machine tested was carrying the standard 270kg hammer which made light work of driving the strainers in on the day. For those operating in seriously hard ground, the machine can optionally be specified with a 300kg hammer.

The hammer is lifted on a 9mm wire rope. This runs up the mast over two pulleys at the top and back down the other side, where it feeds into a triple pulley system on a hydraulic ram which lifts the weight with ease. A heavy-duty steel post cap with a rubber pad is used to transfer the impact of the falling monkey to the post without damaging the top of the post, while a short spike on the bottom of the cap drives into the top of the post and holds it in place.

Side mount

Like all other Fencepro models, the Mule FX can be used as a simple rear-mounted machine or it can be coupled with the Fencepro SM900 side-mount unit. This places the post driver to the side of the tractor, making it easy to move along the fence line. This fairly popular option, in my books, is worth its weight in gold. As it is simply coupled to the post driver with three pins, it gives the flexibility of being able to be changed between a side- or rear-mounted post driver in minutes.

The verdict

So far Norman has had a very good run with the machine. Having already put a lot of posts in, he has nothing but praise for it and the ease of operation. I was equally impressed and was pleased to find the same high standard of build quality and simplicity that is found on all other Fencepro machines.

Pros

  • Robust simple construction
  • Mast and side shift makes it easy to line up posts in exactly the right spot
  • Adjustable legs for a greater mast height
  • Simple and clear controls
  • Side-mount unit can easily be added or removed
  • All options can easily be retro fitted to the machine

Cons

  • Mechanical latch on mast could be longer to keep fingers clear

Read the full test in issue #231 of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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