Counting the cost of feral animals

19 June 2015

Wild dogs cost Australia about $65 million a year and feral pigs about $100 million - half of that in Queensland alone - and most of this is borne by livestock producers.

One-stop-shop predator field day

To help producers manage the challenge of running livestock, particularly sheep, in areas with high feral animal populations, the Leading Sheep program will run a field day as a "one stop predator control shop" in Goondiwindi, Queensland, on 24 June.

Producers will be able to join in sessions where fellow producers will share their experience with:

  • guardian animals (maremmas and donkeys)
  • exclusion fencing
  • pig control

There will also be products and displays covering fence types, baits, traps, remote cameras, fence constructions machines, pig baiting stations and drones.

The Invasive Animals CRC (IACRC) team will be there, with Greg Mifsud (National Wild Dog Facilitator), Jess Marsh (National NRM Facilitator), Simon Humphrys (Program Leader, Land Pests Commercial Products), Peter West (FeralScan) and Dave Worsley (Wild Dog Facilitator NE NSW) teaming up with Jamie Dennison from Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA) and Ian Evans and Lucy Do from Australian Wool Innovation.

On show will be the IACRC’s PestSmart resources, updates on the development of new tools and toxins and the FeralScan website and app for mapping pest animal sightings and damage. Farmers can get advice about best practice pest animal management methods, techniques and the newest in devices that will help them reduce impacts from introduced pests. MLA is a co-funder of the IACRC.

"With the increasing pressure from predators affecting southern and south-east Queensland, this will be a great opportunity for producers to come along and have all the up-to-date information and products in the one spot,” said Leading Sheep extension officer Alex Stirton.

The cost of wild dogs in WA

Meanwhile, new MLA-funded research has conservatively estimated the cost of forgone income due to wild dogs for the Western Australian rangeland goat industry is $11 million/year and the sheep industry is $14 million/year.

"The results are a warning to small stock industries and relevant stakeholders about the need to keep dogs under control," said MLA's Goat Industry Project Manager Julie Petty.

The study also found: 

Wild dogs are the major factor responsible the decline in rangeland goat production in WA.

The rangeland goat population has declined from approximately 1,000,000 in 2005 to 150,000 in 2011, the most recent estimate.

Driven by dogs, the small ruminant supply base has contracted to only a thin coastal strip approximately 100-200km wide.

Read the full report here

Register for the Predator Control Field Day here

Find tools and resources for invasive animal control here .

DIARY DATE: A second Predator Control Field Day will be held at Charleville on 6 August 2015

BREAKING NEWS: New federal funding announced for the National Wild Dog Action Plan

The Coalition Government has announced today that it will provide an additional $1.35 million to support the continued implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan over the next two years.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce said the funding would provide continuity and certainty for the roll-out of the Plan over the longer term as well as a lever for attracting co-investment dollars from industry and other governments.

Last year the Federal Government provided start-up funding of $280,000 towards the Plan, which funded a number of outcomes including the updated PestSmart Connect National Wild Dog Action Plan portal.

They are now investing an additional $1.35 million to ensure national coordination and on-the-ground methodologies for wild dog management are used to the greatest effect possible.

WoolProducers Australia facilitated the development of the National Wild Dog Action Plan in collaboration with the wool, sheepmeat, cattle and goat industries and the Australian, state and territory governments.

More information is available on the Invasive Animals CRC PestSmart Connect website. 

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