Fence hope for sheep farm­ers

Countryman - - WILD DOG CONTROL - Zach Relph

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.

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