Feral pigs targeted in follow up aerial shoot

A further 679 pest animals have been culled from the Griffith region via an aerial program, on the back of 1,679 eradicated over two shoots last year.

The program run by Riverina Local Land Services again focused on feral pigs, but other pests were also targeted including wild deer. It predominantly covered country along the Cocoparra, McPherson and Lachlan ranges from Binya to Hillston via Rankins Springs.

In total 602 feral pigs, 32 wild deer, 28 feral goats, 16 foxes and one feral cat were eradicated.

Peter and Sheryl Conlan run a cattle and fodder production business near Binya.

They said the shoot conducted in June achieved the biggest knockdown of numbers on their property they’d ever seen.

“The program being effective in our general area is important for us as feral pig mobs are nomadic. So the program may be more effective on our property during one aerial shoot and more effective on our neighbours property on the next shoot but it’s about the big picture for our region.”

“The feral pig problem certainly would be overwhelming without contact, advice and assistance from Local Land Services.”

Mrs Conlan said feral pigs have a significant impact on their business.

“The larger groups we’ve seen in recent times have decimated crops, caused considerable damage to native grazing pastures and significant damage to ground tanks, having a major effect on water quality for stock,” she said.

John and Cherie Mitchell run a mixed farming enterprise at Hillston, where they plant 6000 hectares of crop and run livestock.

“Even though we do ground shooting ourselves the aerial program is far more effective due to the scale, and we’ve noticed a significant difference in pig and deer numbers on our farm,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“The biggest impact we face from pigs is the damage to silo bags we use for grain storage after harvest, and they also root up crops out of the furrow after planting and impact our lambing percentage.”

“The damage to grain storage hasn’t occurred since the last two shoots have been conducted – it’s a great tool for managing pests and we’re very appreciative that we’ve been able to be a part of the program.”

Biosecurity Officer Eliza Bramma said many landholders in the region are trying their hardest to manage populations with ground control methods, and the aerial program compliments this.

“We’ve finally had a decent autumn break, which unfortunately has seen the pig population thrive. Aerial shooting knocks the numbers down, so hopefully landholders won’t have a heavy impact from feral pigs on their emerging crops and autumn lambs,” Ms Bramma said.

“We’ve been able to roll out three consecutive shoots for farmers over the past 18 months and now encourage farmers to be diligent in follow up ground baiting to maintain low numbers.”

The program was an inter-agency approach, with Water NSW, Forestry Corporation and private landholders involved.

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