Tack­ling wild dogs

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

THE strate­gic con­struc­tion of an ex­clu­sion fence has al­lowed a southern Queens­land sheep pro­ducer to re­claim parts of his prop­erty from wild dogs and re­turn it to pro­duc­tive and prof­itable sheep graz­ing land.

Brent Fin­lay, who runs 8000 meri­nos on 4500ha, Cooinda, in the Traprock re­gion near Stan­thorpe, said while wild dogs had al­ways been an is­sue in the area, a surge in num­bers had now placed the sheep op­er­a­tions of many lo­cal pro­duc­ers un­der threat.

“It is sig­nif­i­cant when you lose 600 sheep a year with the re­cent mar­ket value, which has been at about $120 per head. There is a lot of money be­ing lost through dog pre­da­tion.

“It’s all about bring­ing sheep back be­cause this coun­try does sheep well. Build­ing fences will al­low peo­ple to re­claim sheep back from the dogs,” Mr Fin­lay said.

Af­ter mak­ing the de­ci­sion to erect the Waratah ex­clu­sion fence two years ago, Mr Fin­lay has not only erad­i­cated the wild dogs, but also seen sub­se­quent im­prove­ments in the man­age­abil­ity of his stock and qual­ity of life.

“The fence will al­low us to use the prop­erty to its full po­ten­tial,” Mr Fin­lay said.

“Re­cently we have been us­ing only 70%, but now we can ac­tu­ally take it to 100%.

“By in­stalling the fence we have in­creased the ease and ef­fec­tive­ness of run­ning the prop­erty, we have erad­i­cated some of the ma­jor pro­duc­tion costs – the loss of sheep and sheep that are stressed from be­ing chased by dogs.

“Our an­i­mals are hap­pier so they main­tain con­di­tion and they also pro­duce a bet­ter qual­ity prod­uct, whether its meat or wool, those num­bers stack up.

“When you have wild dogs you spend hours ev­ery day look­ing for dogs, so the sav­ings for us will be sub­stan­tial in wages and there is an in­crease in stock num­bers be­cause we have removed the prin­ci­ple cause of death.”

Built with the help of his neigh­bours, Mr Fin­lay has erected 19km of Waratah Stock­safe – T ex­clu­sion fence with an apron at the bot­tom, se­cur­ing his bound­ary.

With 12km to go and great re­sults achieved al­ready he is con­fi­dent he won’t have any more trou­ble with wild dogs in the fore­see­able fu­ture and is op­ti­mistic about the up­take of ex­clu­sion fenc­ing from oth­ers within the district.

“The great thing about it is I now have neigh­bours who are look­ing to build fences off my ex­clu­sion fence,” Mr Fin­lay said.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

BOUND­ARY SE­CURE: Stan­thorpe farmer Brent Fin­lay has re­claimed parts of his prop­erty from the clutches of wild dogs by in­stalling a Waratah ex­clu­sion fence.

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