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Beyond the Bale : June 2016
45 Not only will we remove and exclude pests but we will also get control of total grazing pressure, and it will be a huge benefit from a biosecurity point of view should we end up with an exotic disease outbreak in Australia.” OTHER CONTROL MEASURES Will has used and will continue to use a series of other complementary wild dog control measures – including baiting, trapping and shooting – coordinated with other landholders. “1080 baiting has been an incredible asset to us as landholders in trying to control feral pests. We have two co-ordinated baiting programs a year in our Shire. They are always very well attended, but alone it doesn’t let us get on top of the dogs. “You have to understand that these dogs are predators not scavengers and their preferred choice of meat is a fresh kill. So our baits are really only getting new pups and or old dogs that can’t fend for themselves. “In 2010 we started a trapping program in what is now our cluster group and each year from 2010 to 2014 we caught somewhere between 160 and 190 dogs a year.” Prior to the cluster starting, Will said some people had already started to individually fence themselves to allow them to get control of total grazing pressure. “Since the completion of the fence, more properties have continued to individually fence themselves and by 2020 I would expect that our whole cluster will be individually fenced either by design or through neighbours doing this. We ourselves have fenced 28kms of our boundary and we have the material to finish the last 17km.” ENVIRONMENTAL AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS As a result of reduced wild dog and fox predation, Will said producers have seen the return of a lot of native animals: echidnas, koalas, bettongs, ground-nesting birds, bustards (plains turkeys), lizards and snakes. There has also been a pig footed bandicoot found in the cluster, an animal that had been presumed extinct. “South West Natural Resource Management is to be congratulated for initiating this concept,” Will said. “AWI too have at times provided us with help in addressing the wild dog problem. At the moment they are providing us with funding to train new trappers and also helping to clean the last of the dogs out of our cluster.” Will said the reduction in wild dog numbers is a real winner not only from a landholders’ point of view but from a general public point of view. “A revival of the Merino industry will generate much improved circumstances for towns around western Queensland.” AWI’s Leading Sheep network in Queensland have organised another successful bus trip for producers to learn about practical fencing options from other producers as part of their strategies to combat wild dog predation on their livestock. FENCING BUS TRIP HITS THE MARK An opportunity for sheep producers in south-west Queensland to visit the properties of other producers that have constructed exclusion and electric fencing to help combat wild dogs has been declared a resounding success. The focus of the bus trip was to show producers what fencing options were available (both netting and electric), hear first-hand from the producers who erected these fences and learn from their experiences. It was organsied by AWI’s Leading Sheep network in Queensland (with support from the Making More from Sheep program) and held in February around the Cunnamulla/Wyandra region. A range of equipment and trailers used by the producers to make the job of fencing easier were demonstrated. Fencing company representatives also attended. Five properties were visited that have installed exclusion fencing for the control of wild dogs, pigs and total grazing pressure: ‘Overshot’ with a 10-wire electric fence, ‘Wallen’ and ‘Goolburra’ with Clipex fencing, ‘Offham’ with a Southern Wire fence, and ‘Northam’ with a 4-wire Bi-Polar electric fence. “This was a golden opportunity for producers that are considering exclusion fencing for their property to benefit from the hindsight and experience of others,” said Nicole Sallur, Leading Sheep project manager and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland (DAF) senior extension officer. “Participants saw a range of fence types and products and talked with the producers who have constructed these fences about benefits and costs, construction tips, the results and any problems or issues, and lessons learnt.” The relevance of the topic and timing of this field day was highlighted with 53 people attending (and three buses needed), with many travelling a four hour return journey to participate. Evaluation results found that the event was rated 9.1 out of 10 for satisfaction and 100% of attendees would recommend it to others. All producers said that they learnt something new and 89% indicated an intention to make a change on their property, with 53% very likely to make this change. “Leading Sheep organised a fantastic fencing bus trip, focusing on a potential solution to the predator problem, rather than just the problem itself,” producer John Sommerfield of ‘Canegrass’ near Charleville said. “The best thing about this trip was that it focused my attention on fencing and I got the chance to learn from the experiences and knowledge of those people who have erected these predator fences. The producers who spoke to us told us the whole story, both good and bad, and it helped us identify which fence was going to best suit our needs.” Participants on the bus trip represented 820,000 hectares of land, 35,000 sheep and 21,000 cattle. This bus trip follows on from three previous fencing bus trips (two in central west and one in south west Queensland) which have all been an overwhelming success. Leading Sheep is a joint initiative between AWI and DAF, with the support of AgForce. Making More from Sheep is joint program of AWI and Meat & Livestock Australia. MORE INFORMATION www.leadingsheep.com.au James Schmidt demonstrating to producers the fencing trailer on ‘Wallen’, Cunnamulla.
In the Shops - September 2016