Fence hope for sheep farmers
A destocked pastoral lease could return to the sheep industry if a cluster cell fence covering 6.5 million hectares successfully protects properties from the wild dog influx.
Brett and Jo Kanny removed sheep from Wagga Wagga Station, about 26km east of Yalgoo in the Murchison, two years ago amid increased wild dog attacks.
The husband-and-wife team ran about 5000 Merinos in the lead-up to the gut-wrenching decision to put the sheep operation at Wagga Wagga, which homed 8500 Merinos at its peak, on ice.
With no wool clip to enjoy Australia’s record wool price which was trading above 2000¢/kg earlier this year, Mrs Kanny admitted having no sheep at the 87,860ha property was painful.
“The attacks were slow and steady,” she said. “We saw a gradual decrease in sheep numbers.
“We have no sheep now, nothing, there are just a few goats, emus, kangaroos and whatever else wants to roam the place.”
Mrs Kanny, the Shire of Yalgoo president, said fellow Murchison station owners were grappling to overcome the wild dog issue.
She welcomed the State Government’s proactive approach to curtailing the pest threat with two cluster cell developments in the region and a new $800,000 research and development fund.
The Murchison Regional Vermin Council’s cell fence, funded through two grants totalling $1.14 million, will safeguard 52 properties — including Wagga Wagga Station — and 6.5 million hectares once complete. The smaller Murchison Hub Cell fence is set to cover about 227,100ha across four pastoral leases, linking with about 80km of fence pastoralists have already built, after it is erected.
Mrs Kanny was among pastoralists to meet with WA Agricultural Minister Alannah MacTiernan at Mt Magnet on Tuesday last week about the cluster developments.
The Kannys have no timeframe for when they aim to return to the sheep industry, but Mrs Kanny said it was dependent on the MRVC cell fence’s construction.