Feral animals on the rise: NSW farmers

·2-min read

Farmers in NSW say a surging number of feral animals like wild dogs, pigs and cats need to be better controlled.

The NSW Farmers Association says producers are reporting increased incursions by the feral animals onto agricultural land, while deer are also expanding their territory.

Tweed farmer Neil Baker says he's had six sheep and two calves in the past year lost to wild dogs and foxes.

Neighbouring landowners have reported about 40 livestock being mauled over the last three years, he said.

"Cows, calves, sheep that have been mauled, literally gutted."

He spoke to AAP on Wednesday as he looked for a missing calf believed to have been taken by wild dogs.

"As soon as you take out one predator, within a short period of time you seem to have another issue, so it's certainly an ongoing issue that needs to be coordinated," Mr Baker said.

The mixed farmer said better controls need to be put in place to manage feral pests especially on public land.

"We're really very concerned that these pests aren't being properly controlled by some public and private landholders, and that's giving them safe haven to breed and grow their territory."

It's estimated the management of wild dogs by individual farmers and agencies across Australia costs $50 million per year, while feral pig incursions cost the Australian agricultural industry upwards of $100 million a year.

NSW farmers say the surging numbers of feral cats are of the most concern.

In June Australia's national science agency the CSIRO reported feral cats kill an average 1.8 billion Australian animals every year, or two thousand native animals every minute.

Farmer Gerard Glover, from northwest NSW, says feral cats appear on cameras set up across the region.

The Brewarrina sheep farmer says deer are also entering new areas, causing a problem for motorists.

"Cats and foxes typically prey on small native animals, which is a big concern, while deer present a new danger for people driving on country roads," Mr Glover says.

"Far and away though the pigs and the dogs are the most destructive, tearing up paddocks and fences, and attacking livestock.

"In my experience you need good, co-ordinated controls that everyone sticks to, otherwise you get these population explosions and the whole problem starts again."

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