WILD dogs are spreading to South Australia's agricultural areas - and producers need to learn more about how to control them before they are on their doorstep.
That was the message from SA BiteBack program coordinator Heather Miller, Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources, Port Augusta, at the 'Looming threat of predators out of control' session at LambEx 2014 in Adelaide.
She said that in the past three years dog numbers had really built up outside the dog fence and increasing numbers of dogs were getting through the gaps in the dog fence in the northern pastoral areas of the state.
They had spread up to 300 kilometres south inside the fence.
South of the fence they were a declared pest and legislation required all landholders to manage them.
But Mrs Miller said there were "gaps" in control with many properties moving from sheep to cattle, organic producers unable to lay poison on their property, some properties focused on tourism, and wild dogs not affecting the bottom line of mining companies.
Last year 100 of the 170 landholders in the north returned a survey stating they had shot 181 dingoes and trapped 76 more inside the fence, but Mrs Miller believed the actual numbers were much greater
To provide a coordinated approach to baiting and trapping, 22 landholder action groups had been established across the 200,000-square kilometre area.
Through funding from the SA Sheep Advisory Group, Australian Wool Innovation and the Arid Land NRM Board, the groups injected baits twice a year, in March-April and October-November.
"If we are wanting to sustain a cattle and sheep industry we need to control these predators so we can continue to market and sell sheep and cattle," she said. Invasive Animals CRC wild-dog facilitator Greg Mifsud, who also spoke during the session, said wild dogs had not only caused huge economic losses but also social and psychological impacts for those landholders whose livestock were being destroyed and maimed.
* Full report in Stock Journal, July 17, 2014 issue. Like Stock Journal on Facebook