Environment Minister Matt Kean's recent commitment to the roll-out of "the biggest feral pest eradication program in our state's history" is a welcome statement and one that needs to be acted on immediately.
With habitat and food sources significantly diminished by drought and bushfires, there is an urgent need to act to control pest species and minimise their impact on endangered wildlife and livestock as farm businesses rebuild.
NSW Farmers has consistently called for increased baiting and shooting programs to manage pest animals, particularly for wild dogs and deer.
In the wake of the bushfires, the open landscape in many regions makes it easier to locate feral animals.
NSW Farmers members are reporting that wild dogs and deer are being sighted more often on farms as their movement patterns have changed.
NSW Farmers is working with government to develop and implement effective strategies to reduce the populations of feral species in fire affected areas.
Wild dog management will form an important part of these efforts, guided by the 2017-2021 NSW Wild Dog Management Strategy.
Farmers will also be on guard as recent rainfall will potentially induce an explosion of weeds from introduced feeds as well as colonisation of bare ground by resident and windborne species, such as serrated tussock and African lovegrass.
Increased government resources for pest control are more important than ever, given it is the highest priority natural resource management issue to impact productive agriculture.
We also know that the best way to protect our rare and fragile ecological communities is through evidence based, proven land management approaches that reduce the risks of catastrophic fires that destroy habitat and wildlife.
- Mitchell Clapham is from the NSW Farmers Conservation & Resource Management Committee