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Beyond the Bale : March 2019
ON FARM 35 ON FARM 35 “W ithout subsidised baiting,” says the Cudgewa farmer, “we would not be in sheep, and we probably wouldn’t still be here – we would have been slowly going broke.” Ian and his wife, Louise, moved from Queensland to Cudgewa four years ago. They immediately stocked their newly purchased, 900 acre property with cattle, but soon realised it was better suited to sheep. “Everyone said we were crazy, and sure enough, that year we lost a third of our ewes,” says Ian. “We knew we couldn’t sustain those kind of losses.” A local farmer suggested they join the Cudgewa BestLamb/BestWool Group which was running an AWI-funded community baiting program. “It was fortunate timing, because although I myself had started baiting, we were so stretched I could only do it minimally. The program let us put down the right amount of baits for the size of the property, which was more than we could ever have afforded.” Community efforts were backed up by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) aerial baiting program. “Within one year, we went from hearing dogs every night, to hearing them every couple of weeks when they were moving through. Now, it will only be a couple of times a year.” AWI’S BAITING PROGRAM “GOT US OVER THE HURDLE” Woolgrower Ian Middleton who farms in north-east Victoria doubts he would still be farming if it wasn’t for the combination of aerial baiting and AWI’s support of community baiting programs. Importantly, their lambing percentage has risen to 125% (a good statistic given the large number of maidens in the flock) and losses have dropped dramatically. “Before, we were losing calves, ewes and lambs,” says Ian. “We still have losses but it’shardtopinitonadog–it’snotthemass slaughter like it was.” This turnaround has given the couple confidence to improve the property (which was very run-down) and to build their sheep numbers to 1,000 ewes. Ian is improving all their internal fences, and keeps up with his own baiting. He is concerned, however, that without AWI’s ongoing funding for baits, other members of the community are not going to maintain the same effort. “My biggest fear is that if others drop out we will lose that support network of baiting around us.” MORE INFORMATION: View a DELWP video of the Victorian wild dog community program, including footage of local AWI-funded wild dog control managers Tim Enshaw and Lucy-anne Cobby and landholders including Ian and Louise Middleton, on YouTube at https://youtu.be/0PZdhLENQ6g The lambing percentage of woolgrower Ian Middleton at Cudgewa in Victoria has risen to 125% following the dramatic drop in sheep losses from wild dog predation. PHOTO: Louise Middleton AWI FUNDING AVAILABLE Funding is available under AWI’s Australia-wide 'Community Wild Dog Control Initiative' to individual groups to undertake wild dog control activities. Funding can be directed by groups to fill gaps they have identified in their control plans. Particular emphasis is placed on assisting groups to become self-sufficient in the longer term. To apply, groups should download and complete the application form at www.wool.com/wilddogs and submit it along with a plan, a map and a project budget to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are open to new groups as well as those groups that have previously received funding from AWI. If you need clarification or assistance please contact AWI Program Manager Vertebrate Pests, Ian Evans, on 0427 773 005 or email@example.com Community members discussing the plan for the new Western Snowy Wild Dog Control Group. Predator and exclusion fencing workshop with landholders at Ensay/Swifts Creek. Planning session with members of the Delegate River Group.
In the Shops - March 2019