What pests cost ag in­dus­try ev­ery year

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THE cost of rab­bits, wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and other ver­te­brate pests to the Aus­tralian agri­cul­tural in­dus­try is now as high as

$797 mil­lion per year – with wild dog costs nearly dou­ble since the last anal­y­sis.

The re­port by the NSW Nat­u­ral Re­source Com­mis­sion up­dates the eco­nomic im­pact of pest an­i­mals un­der­taken by Wendy Gong and col­leagues in 2009.

The re­port analy­ses the eco­nomic im­pact of pest an­i­mals re­lat­ing to pro­duc­tion losses from live­stock at­tacks and com­pe­ti­tion, along with the man­age­ment costs as­so­ci­ated with their con­trol.

Cen­tre for In­va­sive Species So­lu­tions chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, An­dreas Glanznig, said the eco­nomic cost of pest an­i­mals to agri­cul­ture was on the rise and burn­ing a big hole in farm­ers’ pock­ets.

“The costs as­so­ci­ated with im­pacts from rab­bits, wild dogs, foxes and feral pigs have all sig­nif­i­cantly risen since the last es­ti­mates were un­der­taken,” he said.

“Our agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, such as Aus­tralian beef and wool are world class and are mak­ing top dol­lar on the mar­ket.

“These in­creased com­mod­ity prices have contributed to the nearly dou­bling of the na­tional eco­nomic im­pact of wild dogs, which is on av­er­age

$89 mil­lion per year. The last anal­y­sis had wild dog costs at $48 mil­lion per year.

“Un­der­ly­ing this cost is the huge number of lamb, sheep, calf, cat­tle and goat deaths and maul­ings that have im­pacted the pro­duc­ers’ bot­tom-lines and liveli­hood.”

The re­port also found the cost of pest an­i­mals to the beef in­dus­try alone was up to $220 mil­lion a year, and losses to the wool in­dus­try nearly $100 mil­lion a year.

Mr Glanznig re­it­er­ated how im­por­tant it was for govern­ment, in­dus­try and com­mu­nity groups to act on this sig­nif­i­cant na­tional prob­lem.

“Just over the past few years, gov­ern­ments and in­dus­try have in­vested many mil­lions for re­search and de­vel­op­ment of new tools and tech­nolo­gies, as well as for strate­gic land­scape man­age­ment such as clus­ter fenc­ing, to tackle pest an­i­mal prob­lems.

“These new fig­ures em­pha­sise the need for strong, co-or­di­nated and col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tion,” Mr Glanznig said.

The Cost of Pest An­i­mals in NSW and Aus­tralia, 2013-14 re­port, has been pub­lished on the PestS­mart web­site – www.pests­mart.org.au /cost-pest-an­i­mals-nswaus­tralia-201314.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

FERALS: Pests are cost­ing the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try dearly.

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