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Beyond the Bale : September 2011
September 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 26 ON-FARM Local woolgrower groups are taking action to protect their sheep flocks against wild dogs. To reduce the significant negative impact wild dogs are having on the wool industry and the environment, AWI is investing half a million dollars, leveraged with funding from local governments and natural resource managers and woolgrowers, to help grower groups protect and rebuild their flocks. Wild dogs cost the Australian wool industry an estimated $24.2 million a year in lost production, however, this figure does not take into account the impact wild dogs have on native animals, biodiversity, mental health and other livestock industries. Through aerial baiting and establishing new producer groups, AWI has already invested close to three quarters of a million dollars in 2010/11 into research to limit the FAST FACTS l Several initiatives are under way by AWI, in collaboration with other groups including the Invasive Animals CRC, to overcome wild dog predation. l AWI has provided funding for aerial baiting and the establishment of producer groups to help tackle the wild dog problem. l Woolgrower groups seeking assistance in protecting their flock from wild dogs should contact AWI. impact wild dogs have on the nation's wool industry. AWI has also invested via the Invasive Animals CRC in the development of the new wild dog bait PAPP. Head of on-farm research at AWI, Dr Jane Littlejohn said while higher wool and sheep prices were injecting confidence into regional communities, many woolgrowers have remained reluctant to reinvest into sheep due to the losses caused by wild dogs. "Wild dogs are a very significant problem and it takes a co-ordinated and committed effort from many landholders to make a difference. So this new funding is open to producer groups who need resources to implement a community endorsed plan to help fund trappers, baits and group work to develop control plans." Queensland woolgrower and AgForce representative on the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group, Peter Lucas, says the funding has come at an important time. "Wild dogs have become a big issue in Queensland and we have seen a lot of people getting out of the wool industry because of the impact the dogs have on production, finance and mental health. "I reckon 50 per cent of the sheep are now gone from the Murweh and Paroo Shires and the main reason is the losses caused by dogs. The numbers of wild dogs are huge, for example in the last 18 months we have been able to take 2000 dogs out of the Murweh shire. This funding will mean we can ensure local programs throughout Queensland keep on running," Mr Lucas added. Across many parts of the country, dogs are starting to move into areas they have not been in before; so many landholders, through no fault of their own, don't have the knowledge and expertise to know how to control them. Secretary of the Barnard River Wild Dog Association, Bruce Moore, lost a number of ewes to wild dogs recently. "With the shift in dog movements, we have a lot of people in the NSW northern tablelands who are not equipped to handle the dog problem as they haven't seen it before. Any assistance is appreciated as it helps us help each other by sharing skills in how to tackle the issue." The Barnard River Wild Dog Association will be using their funding to purchase a freezer to allow the group to store meat ahead of aerial baiting programs. Much of the meat the Association uses is donated by members throughout the year, so the Association needed somewhere to store their meat until aerial baiting operations commence. More information: Woolgrower groups seeking assistance in protecting their flock from wild dogs should contact Dr Jane Littlejohn at AWI on (02) 8295 3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.wool.com/pestanimals www.invasiveanimals.com/research/ goals/goals-1 Funding to combat wild dogs Farmers getting instruction on laying baits at an information day at Salmon Gums, north of Esperance WA.