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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
VERTEBRATE PESTS INVESTMENT FOCUS • Coordination of effective and efficient use of appropriate vertebrate pest control techniques across all land tenures. • Direct assistance to community based vertebrate pest control programs, to overcome emergency pest animal challenges and lay secure foundations for sustainable long-term future pest animal control programs. • Research into and development of new and emerging technologies which will enhance producers' abilities to detect, deter and/or destroy vertebrate pest challenges to their enterprises. • Development of producer and service sector capacity through training to control vertebrate pests. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2017/18 1. Effective national and regional coordination of vertebrate pest control effort in sheep producing areas. On target. Eight of nine AWI-funded coordinators are in place and achieving significant improvements in coordination, coverage and scale of wild dog control activities. Whilst short delays were experienced, the new co- funded Queensland position in the South West has been filled by Skyela Kruger, who is located near St George. Skyela has “hit the ground” running and is currently busy establishing contacts and developing networks to work on the wild dog issue in this important wool-growing area of Queensland. An agreed position has been reached with PIRSA, funding approved and contracting to provide a permanent South Australia State Wild Dog Coordinator is under way. 2. 15 new community based vertebrate pest control groups established each year, bringing to a total of 150 groups supported by the end of 2018/19, with the value of avoided stock loss (sheep) greater than costs to woolgrowers and AWI combined. Achieved (almost) for 2017/18. 14 groups were established in 2017/18, with the total number of past and current groups now reaching 171. Surveys of groups completing programs show planned or anticipated: • 12% increase in sheep numbers – on-par with 2016/17 • 31% increase in kg of wool produced – an increase from 24% in 2016/17. 3. National release of RHDV K5, and successful development of RHDV strains of enhanced virulence. On target. The planned release of RHDV1 K5 took place in March 2017. It was released at almost 600 sites across Australia; an initial reduction of 42% in wild rabbit numbers has been recorded at sites where the virus was released (the forecast reduction was 10-40%). This has now levelled off at 38% which is an extremely valuable and useful outcome. KEY RESULTS DURING 2017/18 COMMUNITY WILD DOG CONTROL INITIATIVE • The total number of current and past groups supported is 171, comprising 33 current groups and 138 past groups. The current 33 supported groups comprise: o Qld – 11 (including 6 with “Cluster Clean-Out” assistance) o NSW–10 o Vic–8 o SA – 1 application (covering 21 groups) o WA – 3 Recognised Biosecurity Groups – which are very large-scale covering multiple shires. The current average financial support per group is $39,303. The long-term average per group is $23,763. Groups are getting bigger with increasing coverage and scale. • The AWI-funded Exclusion Fence Construction Unit continues to be based with Longreach Regional Council and is being used by woolgrowers in the Central West of Queensland at a minimal cost thanks to a grant from AWI to Longreach Regional Council. The unit is highly productive when well utilised. Supply logistics and site readiness continue to be challenges. • The focus of the Community Wild Dog Control Initiative remains on: o assisting groups or clusters to establish control of their situation or eradicate the last wild dog. o establishing activities and infrastructure which facilitate on-going long-term wild dog control where re-infestation occurs. o making the most of the three-year or 36- month time frame available for CWDCI (II) funding available to each group. WILD DOG CONTROL COORDINATION • Western Australia: Now past halfway in this initial WA Wild Dog Control Coordination contract, the WA Wild Dog Coordinator Meja Aldrich, based in Geraldton, has made significant contributions to the successful establishment of the five Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) which line the State Barrier Fence from north of Geraldton to Ravensworth and Esperance. These RBGs form the first line of defence against wild dogs for the agricultural region of WA and 90%+ of the WA 28 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2016-17