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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
In an effort to significantly reduce pest rabbit populations and their negative impact on agricultural production and native ecosystems, the new virus known as RHDV1 K5 is being released at more than 600 sites across Australia during the first week of March. Community organisations, Landcare groups and government land managers are participating in the national roll-out of the virus, as part of the RHD Boost project funded through the Invasive Animals CRC with additional funding from AWI. The sites were selected strategically in consultation with rabbit experts from each state. Priority was given to sites that were known to be rabbit prone, were not within 50km of the nationally coordinated intensive monitoring sites and were placed to ensure maximum coverage of areas where rabbits are distributed. Monitoring sites were selected from various rabbit affected locations around Australia to examine RHDV1 K5 effectiveness in various habitats and climates. A commercial product of RHDV1 K5 will also be available from May. RHDV1 K5 can be prepared as carrot or oat bait and fed to live rabbits. Infected rabbits will spread RHDV1 K5 to other rabbits by direct contact or indirectly through faeces and ‘vectors’ such as insects, specifically bushflies and blowflies. The RHDV1 virus is one of the more humane NEW STRAIN OF RABBIT CALICIVIRUS RELEASED A strain of rabbit calicivirus new to Australia is being released at more than 600 sites across the country. It will boost current biocontrol activity that is already impacting pest rabbit populations and help woolgrowers increase their productivity. European rabbits are Australia’s most widespread and destructive agricultural and environmental vertebrate pest, costing $200 million in lost agricultural production every year and impacting 304 threatened native species. PHOTO: John Schilling Release site locations of the new RHDV1 K5 virus. The stars indicate nationally coordinated intensive monitoring sites. The dashed line indicates the approximate northern limit of rabbit distribution. methods of controlling wild rabbits; rabbits basically end up with ‘cold-like’ symptoms with death generally occurring a number of hours later. AWI Vertebrate Pest Program Manager Ian Evans said the RHDV1 K5 release will boost rabbit biocontrol in Australia. “This is a national initiative to better control rabbits, particularly in areas where the current strain of RHDV1 has not had as much success, like the cool-wet regions of Australia,” Ian said. “Population reductions are anticipated to be improved by on average 10-15%, ranging from 0-40% depending on location and susceptibility of the rabbit population to RHDV1 K5. “RHDV1 K5 is not a silver bullet and we need private and public land managers to be vigilant in not taking their foot off the pedal when it comes to their regular rabbit control. “Rabbit biocontrol is beneficial when applied as part of an integrated multi-technique rabbit management program.” 28 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2017