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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
ON FARM 41 The new PestSmart Connect website provides a toolkit of free materials -- including guides, videos, case studies and links to assistance -- to support best practice management of pest animals across Australia. Anew website from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre contains best practice and practical information to help woolgrowers and land managers combat a range of pest animals including wild dogs, foxes, rabbits and feral pigs. The PestSmart Connect website is split into three main sections to enable users to: • Learn about pest animals, their impacts and management • Act to protect their livestock and pastures from the impact of pest animals • Connect with agencies, associations and community groups in your local area for practical help and advice. The website also links to the FeralScan website and app which provides people with the capability to map pest animal sightings, damage and control activities and then to use this information to track and control the problem. Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, officially launched the PestSmart Connect website in June and emphasised the resources available to combat wild dogs. "Combating the scourge of wild dogs is an issue close to my heart, and I have seen first-hand the terrible impact of wild dog attacks," he said. "It's not just about the estimated up to $66 million that wild dog attacks cost Australia's agricultural sector each year through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs. It's also about the emotional impact that wild dog attacks have on the farmers who put their blood, sweat and tears into raising and protecting their livestock. "PestSmart Connect serves as a one-stop-shop for farmers and the community to easily access all the information they need on best practice management of wild dogs and other pest animals, including a wild dog management glovebox guide, and videos. Farmers can also connect with each other and find assistance in their region to help them tackle wild dogs and other pest animal problems." MORE INFORMATION www.pestsmart.org.au The Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre's new PestSmart Connect website provides producers with information and contacts to help enable best practice pest control. PESTSMART CONNECT WEBSITE • Put the time into fence line preparation. • If possible put up a new fence with new materials; don't try and use an old existing fence. • Spend time talking to neighbours and ask them to contribute something towards the cost or construction as it makes a big difference. • Do some research into fence types and talk to those that have already constructed them. Go and visit them if possible. • Remain vigilant for signs of pigs and dogs inside the fence and act on them quickly. TIM'S FENCING TIPS "More ewes mean I can start classing them harder and cull non-performing animals. I can make management changes to the business that will improve production, rather than just surviving and making decisions dictated by predators influence," he said. Tim is now in the process of building up his ewe numbers. He will be joining 2300 ewes in 2015, with the intention of joining 3000 in 2016. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS As well as dog control, a key benefit of the fence is making kangaroo numbers manageable, and thus the ability to spell and improve grazing country with confidence. "The fence means that there won't be a big migration of kangaroos onto the place every time there is a storm," Tim said. "I am currently stick raking some country to develop and grow some oats to help finish lambs and young cattle. This was previously done on 'Banff Downs' but it was stopped when grazing pressure got too much and the crop was eaten by kangaroos as soon as it came up. "I am also not feeding as much lick to cattle and sheep this year, and I'm not supplementing ewes at joining this year, as I normally would have to do because of the reduced grazing pressure from kangaroos. MORE INFORMATION Read case studies about the exclusion fencing at 'Banff Downs', and another nearby property 'Moorooka', on the website of AWI's Leading Sheep producer network in Queensland www.leadingsheep.com.au