NORTHERN Tablelands MP and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has called for local farmers to unite behind a new Herculean effort to contain the spread of feral pigs, encouraging them to sign-up for the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services’ Feral Fighters program.
Mr Marshall said Feral Fighters would provide landholders with the tools needed to help manage pest animals, particularly the scourge of feral pigs. “Feral Fighters are local landholders who work together in groups to undertake co-ordinated pest animal control programs, on the ground and from the air,” Mr Marshall said.
“Between now and June, the program is facilitating a co-ordinated feral pig management program, with trapping, baiting and aerial culling to be undertaken in certain areas to supplement on-ground controls.
The impact of feral pigs is devastating for farmers and their livestock with the pigs preying on new-born lambs, eating and destroying grain crops and pastures, and damaging fences.
NSW Department of Primary Industries says predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral pigs has been listed by the NSW Scientific Committee as a key threatening process in NSW.
“Group baiting and trapping strategically targets pest animal populations in a specific location and is an effective way to reduce the rate of re-invasion. “The aim of the program is the mass reduction of pest animals. By working together, a wider knockdown of the target species can be achieved.”
Mr Marshall said by registering for Feral Fighters, Local Lands Services would provide free grain for feeding and poisoning to farmers, as well as loaning pig traps at no cost. “Local Lands Services Biosecurity Officers will explain to farmers how to set up pig traps and provide free feed grain to get the best results,” he said.
“Working together is pivotal to the program’s success and I encourage landholders to contact their local Biosecurity Officer so they can get on board this highly effective program.”
Research conducted by feral pig expert Darren Marshall, from Southern Queensland Landscapes, has proven that the knockdown success rate increases the longer free feeding can occur and that 70 per cent of the feral pig population needs to be removed in order to have an impact.
Landholders must have a current chemical card to participate in the program. To participate, contact your local Biosecurity Officer on 02 6732 8800.