Innovative pest fencing is building community resilience in South West Queensland as groups of landholders’ band together to tackle their pest problems.
The Collaborative Area Management project is an initiative of South West NRM that involves the construction of pest exclusion fencing around a group of properties. The project allows grazing businesses to restrict pest animal movement, and regain the ability to produce sheep in a productive and profitable manner.
South West NRM Pty Ltd Chairman, Mr Mark O’Brien said “Through the management of total grazing pressure and predation, businesses will be better structured to operate sustainably, with a stronger opportunity to manage drought conditions.”
“After just two years, one landholder reported a significant recovery of lambing rates from 7% to 70% from decreased predation, which equates to over $500,000 of increased income. A sustained increase in production over time will be good news for the region as opportunities for services and employment improve,” Mr O’Brien said.
“To understand the extent of the project’s influence on pest and land management practices, the University of New England is conducting research in collaboration with Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and South West NRM.
“The benefits of the fencing are not just about fiscal returns. We hope to gain insight into landholders’ perceptions about the fencing, from those inside and outside the cluster fences. We expect the research to demonstrate improved attitudes and wellbeing, supporting an increased capacity to recover from years of devastation,” Mr O’Brien said.
The results from the research project will be available in the next few months and will inform the targeted rollout of further fencing projects by South West NRM in the region.
The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Austalian Government's plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.
Prepared by Liz Todd, Media Consultant, 0457 831 512, email@example.com
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