Ground-breaking Australian Government-funded workshops are helping organic-certified producers in South Australia combat the wild dog scourge while maintaining access to premium organic markets.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the baiting workshops were the first of their kind to be held in Australia.
“A total of 38 participants took part, representing 18 properties, covering four million hectares of the Rangelands region of South Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This is a fantastic response to a serious problem that costs our agriculture sector a conservative $89 million a year in stock losses.
“The latest data suggests that on average, property owners and operators spend $5,176 and around 44 days per year on wild dog management, including contractors.
“There is a real threat to livestock and commercial profitability, which is why the Australian Government, South Australian Government and industry recently joined forces to make a combined $25 million commitment to rebuild the Dog Fence in South Australia, on top of support for best practice control measures as detailed in the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
“This $44,680 Smart Farms investment represents tremendous bang for Australian Government buck, with workshops to help producers improve pastoral productivity by reducing attacks on livestock while maintaining access to premium organic markets.”
Minister Basham said the workshops were delivered last week by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions with support from organic certifiers and the South Australian Arid Lands Landscape Board.
“Wild dogs are progressively invading South Australia’s sheep zone and pose a serious threat to the State’s $1.5 billion sheep meat and wool industries,” Minister Basham said.
“We all have a role to play in reducing this threat and in the past some organic properties haven’t baited because the practice has been at odds with certification requirements or land managers have not felt there was enough benefit.
“Through these workshops we are supporting organic producers with access to the latest knowledge to effectively carry out wild dog control measures while remaining compliant with the Australian and United States’ departments of agriculture organic certification programs.
“Organic guidelines for baiting wild dogs presented at the workshops were developed in consultation with the organic industry and aligned with the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
“The workshops were held on Nonning Station in the Gawler Ranges, Anna Creek Station near William Creek and Mundowndna Station near Marree.
“They demonstrated fencing standards and options, how to tether baits, use canid pest ejectors, drying racks protect birdlife, bait monitoring, signage requirements and safe bait transport and storage.”