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Beyond the Bale : September 2012
32 32 seLLing more wooL September 2010 Beyond the Bale 32 on-farm 32,000 baits are what stand between woolgrowers in the pastoral zone of South Australia and a wild dog population that continues to move further south of the wild dog fence. “We’ve got thousands of dogs outside the dog fence and hundreds inside,” says South Australian woolgrower and National Wild Dog Advisory Committee Group representative Geoff Power. “But the aerial baiting program that we have just completed has been massive and appreciated by growers throughout South Australia,” Mr Power says. “AWI funding and support has meant many other aspects of the industry have got on board, including government.” The farmers in South Australia are just some of the 40 groups which have received funding directly from AWI in an “on the ground” response to assist woolgrowers protect their flocks from an increasing wild dog problem. AWI has a coordinated strategy of investment to tackle predation from wild dogs. In June last year the AWI Board made a commitment of one million dollars to help grower groups buy and deploy baits and access traps and trappers. This was in addition to funds for running trapping workshops as well as funding coordinators for landscape level control. The investment strategy is focused on putting the decision making of control into growers’ hands and backing up the on the ground activities with investments in research to identify the most effective aerial baiting rates, as well as studies into the social, economic and environmental impacts of wild dogs. Key to helping producers on the ground is the funding of wild dog coordinators, with people already appointed in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia and investigations under way as to how these roles can be extended into other states. As the name suggests, coordinators work with landholders to raise awareness and ensure wild dog control activities are coordinated across regions and are effective. Brett Carlsson was recently appointed as the Wild Dog Coordinator in Queensland, a position funded by AWI and AgForce, and says he will be working with producers to make sure they stay in the wool industry. “Across the board, everyone has been really receptive to having someone on the ground to help,” he says. “ Coordination is nothing new, it is just people don’t have the time or contacts to be able to do it. So in a sense my role is more than just to coordinate, but also to facilitate. For example, I recently held a meeting to try to coordinate aerial baiting campaigns for next year so shires are baiting in sequence, for maximum effect and minimum cost.” WIld dog FUNDING Wild dogs are estimated to cost the Australian wool industry $24.2 million a year in lost production, but this figure does not include the social or environmental impacts of dogs on the community. Head of On-farm RD&E at AWI Dr Jane Littlejohn says the mainstream media view of wild dog impacts is too narrow and simplified. “ Too often reporting on wild dogs considers the lost sheep and dead dogs, but it forgets the impact of these attacks on communities, woolgrowers and their families,” Dr Littlejohn says. “ Growers often lay awake at night wondering if dogs are attacking their sheep, which places stress on themselves and the rest of their family.” This is echoed by Mr Power who adds, “wild dog predation is very much an emotive issue; we have had a lot of people in South Australia go out of sheep, not because they wanted to, because they were forced to. “ It doesn’t stop when they move from sheep into cattle either; we’ve seen as people go out of sheep and into cattle the dogs start predating calves, so it is a no win situation while the dogs are about.” More information: www.wool.com/pestanimals fasT faCTs l AWI has a broad range of investments in wild dog control, including practical initiatives such as aerial baiting and establishing new producer groups. l As well as funding the National Wild Dog Facilitator position, AWI is funding coordinators in Queensland, victoria and South Australia with investigations under way as to how these roles can be extended into other states. l Wild dog predation can cause woolgrowers and their families profound trauma in addition to the stress of production losses. September 2012 Beyond the Bale awi r&D upDaTe puBLiCaTions AWI has begun producing new ‘AWI R&D update’ publications to provide growers with a succinct overview of AWI R&D outcomes to date. The following new AWI R&D updates are currently available: • Wild dog Control • Fox Control • Rabbit Control. The AWI R&D updates are available online at www.wool.com or via the AWI Helpline on 1800 070 099. AW Ii n vests up t o$ 1 00 , 000 eac h yeari n f o xc on tr o lst o i n creasela mb s u rvival, a ndwoo la ndm eat p r odu cti on . Fo xc on tr o l als ob e n e fi tsfr omAW I’sc u rre n t c omm it m e n t o f o ver $ 2 m il li on t ow il ddog c on tr o l,i n cl ud i ng t h e d ev el opm e n t o f a n e w f o xa ndw il ddog t o xi n . Mak i ng f oxes i n f e rtil eAW I mod eli ngo ff o x popu la ti on ss how e dpo te n tial fertility c on tr o ls wou l db e mu c h less e ff ectivet h a n al ter n ativess u c h as po is on i ng . Th e mod els s how e d t h ata n a nnu alca mp ai gno ff o x sterilisati onwou l d re du cef o x d e n sit y b ya bou t 30% ,c omp are d t o a n80% re du cti on fr om a n a nnu alca mp ai gno f po is on i ngu si ng t h esa m ee ffo rt. Fu rt h er mo re,sterilise d f o xes wou l d c on ti nu et op rey onbo t hn ativea n i m alsa nd livest o ck. B a iti ng a nd s hoo ti ng re m ai n t h e mo ste ff ectivef o xc on tr o ls. New f oxba it s i n t hep i pe li neAW Iis wo rki ngw it h t h eI n vasive An i m als CRC (I ACRC )a ndAn i m al Con tr o l T ec hno l og ies t od evel op a n e w f o xa ndw il ddog t o xi n calle dPAPP , o r p ara-a m i nop r op i oph e non e. PAPPg ra du allyre du ces o xy g e n t o t h e b rai n ,e ff ectively se nd i ng t h ef o xt o sle e pb ef o re it d ies w it h i n t wohou rs o f taki ng t h e b a it. Un lik e 1 080 (t h e mo stc ommon ly u se d f o x po is on )t h e n e w t o xi nh asa n a n ti do tef o r wo rki ngo r p et dog st h atareacci d e n ta lly po is on e d . PAPPb a iti ng trials s how lar g e d r op si n f o xactivity, w it hm a n y far m ers find i ngd ea d f o xesf o rt h e fi rstti m e. PAPP is b ei ng assesse d f o rre g is tra ti on a nd s hou l db ec omm ercially availa b le w it h i n ac oup le o f years. PAPP is no tare p lace m e n tf o r1 080 ,rat h era n a dd iti on al t oo lt o c on tr o lf o xes. AW IR&DUPD A TEF O XC ON TR O L 1 AW I’ SRESPONSETOFOXPROBLEMSKEYRESEARCHA I MSANDOUTCOMESAWIR&DUpdateFoxcontrolFOXCONTROLT I PS • Foxba i ts m ustbe bur i ed , by l a wi n m ostof eastern A ustra li a .B a i ts bur i ed 5-15c m deepare l ess li ke l ytobetakenby nat i ve an im a l s . • B uryba i tsatarateof 5–1 0 ba i ts/ k m 2. • Scent l ures li ke Fera lM one TM deve l oped wi th AW Isupport he l p attractfoxestobur i ed ba i ts . • W herepractical,collect anyre m ainingbaits w ithin three w eeksof layingthe m ,toavoid foxes recovering after eatingold,lesstoxic baitsandbeco m ing ‘bait shy’. • Increasela m bsurvival bytakingpartin coordinated,co mm u- nity-basedfox baiting and/orshootingpro- gra m sthattarget w eak pointsinfoxlifecycles – duringbreedingin late w inter/spring,and w hen pups disperse in late su mm er/autu m n. In2 00 1,atrialofthe co mm unity-basednil- tenureprocessreduced stocklossesfro mw ild dogsandfoxesbyan averageof75 % each yearinsouthern N S W . Commun it y - ba s ed f oxcon tr o l p r og r am st a r ge ti ng t heweakpo i n tsi n f ox lif ecyc l e s canco st- effec ti ve l y i nc r ea s e l ambma r k i ngpe r cen t age s by20pe r cen t. W i de s p r eadAu str a li an st ud i e ss how s heepand r abb its makeupa s mucha s 70pe r cen t o ff oxd i e ts. Lambp r eda ti onby f oxe s ave r age s 2 - 3pe r cen t pe r yea r, bu t can r each30pe r cen t whe r e f oxnumbe rs a r eh i gh . Foxe s a r eoneo ft hema i ncau s e s o ft hedec li neandex ti nc ti ono f many s ma ll andmed i um -si zedna ti vean i ma ls. Foxe s co st Au str a li anag ri cu lt u r eand t heenv ir onmen t ove r $227m ill i onayea r. AW Iesta b l ishe d the AW I R a bb it Ad vis o ry G r o u p ( ARAG )t op r o vi d estrate g ica d vice o nra bb it research, d evel opm ent an d extensi o ninvest m ents. T he ARAG is m a d eu po f f o ur p ast o ral an d hi g hrainfallz o ne p r od ucer m e mb ers w h owo rk w ith AW It og ui d e future invest m entint o sustaina b le op ti o nst o c o ntr o lan dm ana g era bb it s. AW Iinvestsu p t o$ 1 00 , 000 eachyearinra bb itc o ntr o lst o increase woo lan dm eat p r od uc ti o n. B i o l og i ca l con tr o l o fr abb its AW Ihas p a rtnere dw iththeInvasive A ni m als Coop era tiv e R esea rc h C en tre (I ACRC )an dM eat &L ivest o ck A ustralia( MLA )t o assessthee ff ec tiv enes s o f ra bb ithae mo rrha g ic d iseasevirus( RHDo rcalicivirus)sinceitsreleasein1 99 5. R a bb itscatch RHD fr omd irectc o ntact w ith in fec te d ra bb its , o ther c o nta m inate dob jec ts o rseveral b l ow flyan db ushflys p ec ies. Mo st calicivirusesinfectthelinin go fthethr o at,lun g s o r g ut. RHD als o infectsthera bb it’slivercausin g acute he p a ti tis. R a bb its d ie w ithinfive d ays o finfecti o n,alth o u g hra bb it ki ttens u p t o six w eek s o l d are m uchlesssusce p ti b let oRHD tha n o l d er ra bb i ts. A fres hly d ea db ut o ther w isehealthy-l oo kin g ra bb it m ayhave d ie d fr omRHD . Som era bb its rec o verfr om l ow er do ses o fa RHD -likevirusf o un d inc oo ler, mo re hu m i dp a rts o f A ustralia, g iv in g th o se ra bb its s om ei mm unityt o l owdo ses o f RHD . How ever,even RHD -resistantra bb its d iefr om lar g e do ses o f RHD . T hr o u g h the RHDBoo st p r o jec t, AW I,theI ACRC an d s evera l p a rtners a re inv es ti g atin g ne wRHD strainsthatkillra bb its p artiallyi mm unet o ex is tin gA ustralian strains o f thevirus. Up t o ten fiel d s tra ins o f RHD that su pp ressra bb it A W IR&DUPDATERABBITC O NTR O L 1 AW I’ SRESPONSETORABB I TPROBLEMSKEYRESEARCHA I MSANDOUTCOMESRABB I TCONTROLT I PS • RHD hasits g reatest i mp act o nra bb it pop ulati o ns d urin g : • S u mm erin te mp eratez o nes • W et w intersin se m i-ari d areas. • U se mo re than o ne ra bb itc o ntr o l m eth od , li ke po is o nin g , w arrenri pp in g an d fu m i g ati o n, w ith b i o l og icalc o ntr o ls t o li m ittherec o very o fra bb it pop ulati o ns after a bo ut o f RHD an d / o r m yx om at o s is. Con tr o lli ng r abb its, can r e s u lti n i nc r ea s e s o f g r ea s ywoo l cu ts up t o20pe r cen t pe r headpe r yea r. Woo l g r owe rss ee f ewe rf oxe s and f e r a l ca ts andmo r eg r oundne sti ngb ir d s and s ma ll na ti vema rs up i a ls on t he ir p r ope rti e s. Rabb its g r azec r op s andpa st u r e si ncompe ti ti onw it h li ve st ock ,l owe ri ngwe i gh t ga i n s, woo l cu ts andb irt h r a t e s. They st op s eed li ng sr egene r a ti ngand r educec r opy i e l d s. Den siti e s a sl owa s1r abb it/ ha r educena ti vep l an tr egene r a ti on l ongbe f o r e r abb its cau s eno ti ceab l eeconom i cdamage t oag ri cu lt u r a ll and . Theeconom i c i mpac t o fr abb its onAu str a li anag ri cu lt u r e is e sti ma t ed t obe$200m ill i onannua ll y . De s p it e t he r e l ea s eo ft hemyxomav ir u si n t he 1 950 s and r abb it haemo rr hag i cd is ea s ev ir u s ( RHDo r ca li c i v ir u s)i n 1 995 ,r abb its r ema i nw i de s p r eadac r o sss ou t he r nAu str a li a . AWIR&DUpdateRabbitcontrol Repeateddogattacks onsheep takealargeemotionaltollonwoolgrowing families,affectingtheireffortsto carefortheirsheepand rebuildflocks inparts ofQueensland,SouthAustralia,WesternAustraliaand along theGreatDividing RangeinNewSouthWalesandVictoria. AustralianWoolInnovation(AWI)considersawilddog tobeanydognotunder thecontrolofahuman, including dingoes,hybriddingoes,feraland peri-urban dogs. To reducethetollonwoolgrowingfamilies,AWI funds socialandbiological researchinto wild dogs,andon-groundactivitiestoinvolveland managerswith andwithoutsheepinwild dogcontrol. AWIandtheInvasiveAnimalsCooperativeResearchCentre(IA CRC)funda NationalWildDogManagementFacilitatorto discusswilddogcontroloptions withregional groups,bringing group membersupto speedwith thelatestwild dog researchandcontrol methods.Thefacilitatoris supportedbyAWIfunded statewilddogcoordinators. Further AWI commitmentsto wilddog control include: • $30,000 to support grazier participation in national forums on wild dog management • A $400,000 study of the social, economic and environmental impacts ofwild dogsto supporttheneedforimprovedcontrols • Funding for research to determine and register the most effective aerial baiting rates • Investment through the IA CRC to develop PAPP, a new bait to control wilddogs andfoxeswithanantidoteforworkingandpetdogs Community cooperation saving sheep and wildlife Wilddogmanagementplanningworkshopsarebringingwoolgrowersandother regionalstakeholders togetherto tackletherealissueof reducing wild dogs, not theshortcomings ofparticularcontrol methods. Aswithmostpestproblems, no single ‘quickand easy’ methodwillsolveallproblems. Thebestresults comefrom applying asuiteofcomplementarycontrol methods thatconsider: • Wild dog behaviour, social structure, habitats and food preferences • Animal welfare and non-target impacts • Public safety and occupational health and safety issues • Legislative and practical constraints. In 2001, a trial of the nil-tenure process by a regional group reduced stock losses byanaverageof75% eachyearin southern NSW. AWI’S RESPONSE TO THE WILD DOG PROBLEM AWIUPDATE WILD DOG CONTROL 1 Stocklosses fromwild dogs costAustralianfarmers an estimated $65 million a year. Inthewool industryalone, wilddogs causeproduction losses of $24.2 million every year. Insomeareas,wild dogs and foxes kill up to 25% oflambs borneachseason. Wild dogs vary widely in size andshape. Somearesimilar to akelpieandweigh around 15kg, but 70kg feral domestic dogs havebeencapturedin the wild. Toaddress theimmediate wilddogcrisis facing woolgrowers,AWIallocated: • Over $1 million to boost thenumberofwilddog trapsandbaitslaid across A us tral ia. • A further $600,000 overthreeyearsfor regionalgroupsapplying thenil-tenureprocess to develop andapplywilddog managementplans. AWI R&D Update Wild Dog Control KEY OUTCOMES