MANY farmers are dedicating close to a month each year tackling the issue of wild dogs and are forced to spend about $7200 annually in their fight.
This was one of the findings in a series of ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics) reports conducted for Australian Wool Innovation, which underlined the serious financial and social impact of wild dog attacks in the sheep and cattle industries.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the report analysed the results of a survey of over 1000 landholders in wild dog-affected areas, and highlighted the importance of strong leadership and coordinated on-the-ground efforts to combat the problem of wild dogs.
"This latest report showed that on average, each landholder surveyed spent about 26 days and around $7200 a year on wild dog management, and that they were forced to remain constantly vigilant for attacks, especially during lambing season," Mr Joyce said.
"And those figures only take into account the direct costs of management efforts, like baiting and trapping, materials and so on. When you look at the financial costs across the whole sector-in livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs-wild dogs were estimated back in 2004 to cost our agricultural industries up to $66 million per year. The current costs could be significantly higher.
"And of course, the financial cost doesn't account for the personal impacts of wild dog attacks, that leave farmers deeply distressed and angry."
Mr Joyce said the report underlined the major problem wild dogs were for our sheep and cattle farmers, and for the agricultural sector as a whole.
"This is why the government has already taken strong action in the fight against wild dogs. In recent weeks, we have invested an additional $1.35 million for the continued implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan, which builds on the initial investment of $280,000 in May 2014," he said.
"In addition, we have provided $1 million for a project to develop and test Wild Dog Alert-an early warning system that has the potential to save farmers time and money in managing wild dogs, and reduce the impacts of wild dog attacks.
This funding complemented the $10 million the government had already committed through last year's drought assistance package for pest management across Australia, as well as an additional $25.8 million under this year's Budget to continue to manage the impacts of pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas.
"The Australian Government will continue working with State and Territory governments, industry groups and research organisations to help farmers combat the scourge of wild dogs.
"I commend Australian Wool Innovation for commissioning these reports and helping to improve understanding of the wild dog problem."