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MLA invests in pest management research and development (R&D) to eradicate and control invasive mammals and pests that threaten livestock health and the productivity and profitability of the Australian red meat industry.
Rabbits, feral pigs, foxes and wild dogs are of greatest concern to red meat production and cost the industry an average of $350 million per year in mortality, lost infrastructure, reduced livestock health and increased grazing pressure.
Improving producer knowledge and increasing the adoption of proven control measures for pest species can prevent ongoing problems with animal welfare and productivity losses.
MLA’s pest management R&D involves:
- creating and maintaining predator-proof fencing
- improving the carrying capacity of the feedbase to reduce grazing pressure from wild animals
- investigating plants that are resilient to insect pests
- managing parasites and diseases that transfer from invasive species to livestock
- supporting the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions and the National Wild Dog Action Plan
- investigating modifications to the bait fed to predator species to improve stability, effectiveness and delivery mechanisms of biological animal control
- managing and eradicating invasive and poisonous weed species.
Benefits to industry
- MLA’s support of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions aids R&D and adoption of processes that are economically, ecologically and socially informed to provide more effective strategic management action plans for invasive species.
- The control and eradication of invasive animals and pests significantly increase the welfare and productivity of livestock by improving and maintaining their feedbase and overall health. This, in turn, increases growth rates, reproductive success and the overall quality of life of livestock.
- Reducing grazing pressure and habitat destruction from grazing wildlife and invasive mammals improves the quality and sustainability of the livestock feedbase, which contributes to enhanced carcase quality, meat quality and overall yield and profitability of an enterprise.
- Reducing predation from invasive animals (foxes, dogs and pigs) improves livestock and producer wellbeing, while limiting production losses.
Best practice management
More than 50 animal species have been introduced into Australia since the late 1800s and are now considered invasive animals.
These species have a huge impact on agriculture, the environment and communities. Not only do they cost the agricultural industry hundreds of millions of dollars every year through production losses and control costs, they are also a major driver of species extinction with hundreds of native species at risk and ecological communities threatened.
The species of greatest concern to cattle, sheep, lamb and farmed goat production are:
To ensure a coordinated approach to ethical pest control, MLA’s investment in this area is largely through its support of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.