$47 million of lost agricultural production attributed to feral pigs for 2020

It’s a well-known fact that feral pigs can cause significant impacts on both grazing and cropping enterprises. But exactly how much that equates to financially hasn’t been looked at closely for over 10 years. Previous figures have suggested an estimated $14million loss to wool, sheep and crop enterprises across NSW per annum.

Janine Powell from AgEcon has previously examined the economic impacts of feral pigs and the cost benefit analysis of various control methods available for a range of commodities. This initial research concluded that Landholders could see a potential net benefit of up to $100/ha if they conducted control programs for feral pigs.

AgEcon has gone a step further and has now determined the actual seasonal impact of feral pigs for the North West region focussing on the winter 2020 and summer 2020/21 cropping periods.

Through surveying agronomists and land managers across the region, AgEcon found that there was an estimated $47million loss of agricultural production for the North West region alone for this period.

The study’s results indicated that the highest enterprise loss of $113/ha was for the summer 2020/21 summer crop of irrigated cotton. As a high value crop, even low to moderate potential yield losses by feral pigs led to economic losses four times higher than other crops. An estimated 15,000 bales of both irrigated and dryland cotton valued at over $8million lost to feral pigs last season.
Wheat, being of lower value had an estimated loss of over $20million.

David Lindsay, Senior Biosecurity Officer with North West Local Land Services said this equates to the equivalent of 77,000 tonnes of lost grain.

“Per hectare, the wheat losses were $25/ha, however due to the scale of planting the losses certainly add up. This highlights that regionally feral pigs are causing large economic losses, not just in high value crops,” Mr Lindsay said.

“Graziers are not exempt from feral pig impacts either. Regionally, lamb losses were estimated at just under $2million or 11,000 lambs lost. With livestock prices rising and predation of lambs by feral pigs not often identified, this cost could easily be much higher.

“Biosecurity Officers have seen an increase in enquiry from sheep farmers particularly for feral pig control options.

“As harvest continues across the region currently and cotton crops are growing, hopefully this information encourages landholders to consider their control programs and think about just how much they are willing to lose to feral pigs.”

The full report can be found here on the Local Land Services website. Contact a Biosecurity Officer if you’d like to know more by phoning 1300 795 299.

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