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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
ON FARM 43 With key equipment provided by AWI, work is under way on the 660km Esperance extension to WA's State Barrier Fence to help prevent wild dogs from moving into the state's agricultural areas from the north-east. EXTENSION TO WA EXCLUSION FENCE BEGINS The WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in May commenced the extension of the State Barrier Fence (SBF), that will go east from its current end near Jerdacuttup, then north around Salmon Gums to terminate east of Esperance near Cape Arid National Park. This extension will complete fencing that already stretches from north of Kalbarri. It will help protect farming properties from wild dogs entering the state’s agricultural region in the south, from the rangelands. DPIRD is coordinating the construction of the 1.35-metre-high fence, after final environmental approval was granted in April. Construction is expected to take two-and-a- half years to complete. “The fence will bring confidence back into the livestock industry and it’s good news for the Merino industry.” Scott Pickering President of the Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA and Chairman of the Esperance Biosecurity Association The State government has contributed $6.9 million, the Federal government $1.955 million, while the Esperance Shire allocated $1.5 million in kind for grid construction and the Ravensthorpe Shire gave $280,000. AWI has provided its specialised Caterpillar fencing machine suitable for the terrain. The unit, worth about $205,000, will be managed under a lease arrangement by the SBF unit of DIRPD. “We have seen State Government work with industry, Federal and local governments to provide a funded fencing solution so farmers can take advantage of booming sheep meat and wool prices,” said WA Agriculture and Food Minister, Alannah MacTiernan. “This project forms part of a strategic approach through the WA Wild Dog Action Plan, to support industry and landholders to manage wild dogs in agricultural and pastoral areas of WA.” AWI-FUNDED EXCLUSION CONTRUCTION FENCING UNIT IN WA The exclusion fencing construction unit (EFCU) includes a loader, hydraulic rock hammer for driving in strainers and fast fencer. “A completed Esperance extension will provide confidence for the sheep industry for new investment, increased wool production, regional jobs and economic growth,” AWI Vertebrate Pests program manager Ian Evans said. This state-of-the-art fencing machinery will enable stronger fence strainers to be used, greater distance between fence strainers and 500 metre fence rolls to be safely rolled out. The Caterpillar loader is capable of completing five to six kilometres a day on a clear site, but that distance will vary depending on the path it travels. “More than 90% of the sheep in WA are behind the fence, and WA now has a golden opportunity to get rid of those wild dogs within the fence, as long as there is good support from the farming community. “It’s not going to be easy, but if the Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) have a good two to three years of 90% participation by landholders, they could eradicate the wild dogs.” The provision of the EFCU by AWI for this WA project complements the provision of another AWI-funded EFCU that has been operating in Queensland for more than 21⁄2 years. The collaboration in WA supported two DPIRD staff to visit Queensland, assess and bring back innovations in barrier fencing technology which could be adapted to WA conditions and maximise the efficiency of this large fencing project. DIRPD Invasive Species director Victoria Aitken said the equipment was on site and being used. “The machinery will enable faster, safer and more cost-effective works to be undertaken. An extended and enhanced State Barrier Fence will support Recognised Biosecurity Groups and farmers in targeting their efforts against wild dogs,” Ms Aitken said. President of the Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA and Chairman of the Esperance Biosecurity Association, Scott Pickering, took part in the unveiling ceremony in May and said the fence will have a positive effect on woolgrowers in the region. “The fence will bring confidence back into the livestock industry and it’s good news for the Merino industry,” Mr Pickering said. AWI-FUNDED EFCU IN QUEENSLAND The AWI-funded EFCU in Queensland has continued to be based with Longreach Regional Council (LRC) and has been used by woolgrowers in the Central West of Queensland at a minimal cost thanks to a grant from AWI and management by LRC. LRC has informed AWI that an estimated 70% of the potential exclusion fencing is now complete and demand for the unit has declined significantly. As a result, AWI is evaluating requests for access to this equipment from South Australia for replacement of the SA Dog Fence and from NSW for extensions to the NSW Border Wild Dog Exclusion Fence. The AWI-funded Caterpillar skid steer loader with a hydraulic rock hammer used for installing fence strainers. Pictured are AWI director David Webster, SBF manager Craig Robins (obscured, driving the bobcat), SBF maintenance Paul Clune, WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, WA Wild Dog Action Plan project manager Matthew Stadler, DIRPD Invasive Species director Victoria Aitken and AWI Vertebrate Pests program manager Ian Evans.
In the Shops - September 2019