Rural

Farmers make history with pig cull alliance

Celebrating the successful culling of nearly 400 feral pigs are (from left) grower Brendan Taylor, Condamine Alliance CEO Phil McCullough and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud.
Celebrating the successful culling of nearly 400 feral pigs are (from left) grower Brendan Taylor, Condamine Alliance CEO Phil McCullough and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud. Megan Masters

THE fight against feral pigs in the Dalby region has made history, with a record number of landholders working with the Condamine Alliance on a pig culling program.

Nearly 400 feral pigs were culled in the operation last week, with the help of an incredible 191 landholders.

Warra grower and AgForce grains director Brendan Taylor was one of the participating landholders and said it was a huge step forward for the region's farmers, who had struggled with feral pigs since the 2010-13 floods.

`”This year we haven't seen an enormous amount of pig damage, but last summer we had quite a lot of pig damage in sorghum crops,” Mr Taylor said.

"Generally, they like to build nests, so they just pull out patches of crop and stack it into haystacks I guess and they get under that to get out of the sun.

"Then they forage on the grain sorghum prior to harvest.”

He said the project was a duplicate of one carried out last year, but the impact was greater, with more growers on board.

"The bigger net you can cast over your district, the bigger impact you're going to have from getting re-infection from the side,” Mr Taylor said.

"So getting grower contributions and that larger group is critical to having the most impact.”

He said programs like this were an effective way to get a really positive result with only a minor contribution.

And far from just being a problem for landholders, he said feral pigs were devastating to the environment through spreading disease, destabilising waterways and harming native wildlife.

Aerial shooting campaigns were one of the most cost-effective ways of controlling pest animal numbers, but few farmers had access to aerial resources without banding together.

Condamine Alliance CEO Phil McCullough said initial plans were a good deal smaller, but the unprecedented interest from landholders led to a pretty vast expansion.

"Originally we funded and area of 4000 hectares in the Jimbour Creek-Macalister region,” he said.

"This quickly expanded once other landholders recognised the wider-scale opportunity to clean up the residual numbers that have escaped the intensive ground culling effort that has been in place since the 2010 and 2013 floods.

"The enthusiasm shown by the community as a whole to turn this into such a large-scale project shows both the proactiveness of the Dalby community and the destructiveness of feral pigs.”

It was expected that a further cull would take place in the next three to four months to consolidate on their initial efforts.

Topics:  aerial shooting condamine alliance dalby darling downs feral pigs pest animals pig culling


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