ONE of the greatest threats facing the sheep industry is being addressed through effective collaboration between miners, sheep producers and natural resource managers.
With a united force committed to protecting both the native environment and the livestock on which so many depend, successful wild dog control has been demonstrated in various regions of Australia.
While wild dogs are still a growing threat in many woolgrowing areas, strong results have been shown in some pastoral and tablelands areas.
Independent analysis of the 44 existing wild dog groups supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has shown the annual $1.5 million investment will produce an industry benefit over eight times this size, with a $2.50 return on every dollar invested in the first year of projects.
While 24 new wild dog groups are being established across Australia, the latest example of a co-operative approach to the insidious issue of wild dogs can be seen on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
A collaborative effort between the Mid Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA), farmers, AWI and the NSW Minerals Council will ensure wild dog aerial baiting occurs on the Mid North Coast.
Following a favourable season, wild dog numbers have multiplied in the Hunter Valley and due to a lack of resources earlier this year, it appeared unlikely an aerial baiting program would go ahead.
As a result of an LHPA initiative to raise community funds towards a baiting program, local landholders allocated $4,500 towards baiting.
AWI and the NSW Minerals Council have each pledged $10,000 towards wild dog control in the area, giving the LHPA the resources required to effectively undertake the required work.
President of the Mt Arthur Wild Dog Association, Arthur Roberts, said he was happy that the aerial baiting program would be reinstated in 2012.
In particular Mr Roberts thanked Darley Woodlands and Coolmore Horse Studs and Mt Arthur Coal Mine for their ongoing support.
Mid Coast LHPA general manager Jo McGoldrick said the collaborative funding would go a long way in providing relief to landholders who have been dealing with the increased wild dog activity.
“We are very satisfied with this outcome, which demonstrates just what you can achieve when you have a united approach to a problem.
"Now that an aerial baiting program can and will go ahead, our sheep farmers will see a large decline in the number of wild dogs and a real solution to this difficult pest problem.”
NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee added, “Mining and farming have been neighbours in the Upper Hunter for more than 100 years and we work closely together on many issues".
"As landholders we have a common interest in controlling the wild dog population. It is great to see that by pulling together, we can save this vital program for 2012.”
AWI’s head of on-farm Research Development and Extension Jane Littlejohn said AWI was keen to support any collaborative project to control wild dogs.
“The Mid Coast LHPA deserves credit for their efforts to coordinate this project.
"AWI’s concern is for the the several hundred sheep producers who have their flocks under constant threat from dog attacks.
"Woolgrowers in the Bathurst, Mudgee, Merriwa and Tamworth regions are threatened by wild dogs travelling across Authority boundaries.”
The aerial baiting will occur in Divisions E and F of the Mid Coast LHPA this winter.