Wild dog concerns for Wannamal

30 Nov, 2016 10:15 AM
Iain Nicholson.
If we don't control the dogs, we won't have a sheep industry in WA.
Iain Nicholson.

WANNAMAL grower Iain Nicholson said wild dog numbers were a concern, even in the agricultural region.

"There have been sheep attacks in the New Norcia region and as close as 10 kilometres from me," he said.

Mr Nicholson said there was every indication they were moving into the Wheatbelt and beyond.

"We are only one hour from Perth and the scarp is full of bushland and reserves, so they will be coming in," he said.

While Mr Nicholson has only seen one dog on his farm he believed wild dogs had marked some of his sheep but had not killed any, suggesting it was only a matter of time.

He worked on stations in the Gascoyne in the 1980s where wild dog control was very hands-on.

"Sheep prices were good, so we had to look after them and control the dogs," he said.

"We baited, trapped them and went shooting each day and we had dogs under control back then.

"We should be adopting some of those programs today."

Due to the increasing demand for red meat and protein globally, Mr Nicholson said it was important to build WA's flock and control the dogs.

Mr Nicholson welcomed government support with $20 million invested into wild dog control in WA, but was sceptical as to how far the funding would go.

"Anything with four legs is worth money. Sheep today are worth about $100 a head and if they have wool that's more," he said.

"If we don't control the dogs, we won't have a sheep industry in WA.

"It's an industry that produces wealth for the State, so we need to invest into it, so I am glad they are doing something."

Mr Nicholson said more needed to be done for bait access.

"As a primary producer it shouldn't be so difficult to get 1080 baits," he said.

"It is frustrating that it is difficult to get hold of, because we need to do as much maintenance as we can, even those without small livestock."



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