Sodium nitrite trials a success in controlling feral pigs

Eighteen months of closely monitored field trials conducted by Central Tablelands Local Lands Services, have shown the newly approved sodium nitrite baiting system to be an easy, effective, and safe method, when it comes to controlling feral pigs in the environmentally sensitive valley environments adjacent to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area west of Sydney.

Some landholders face an ongoing struggle against feral pigs every day. These introduced pests destroy pastures, ruin crops, attack livestock, degrade environmental conditions, and can spread disease throughout the landscape.

Until recently, traditional methods of pig control such as shooting, trapping, hunting, and baiting with 1080, have been the standard tools of trade – but they are not always the right fit for individual landholders needs.

Enter sodium nitrite! By cooperating with landholders, Central Tablelands Local Land Services has been able to demonstrate real results against feral pigs in many different applications – small landholders targeting wandering pests, commercial producers eliminating long term problems, rapid response to marauding mobs, and environmentally conscious groups looking for another option to gain effective pig control. In all these situations, sodium nitrite has shone through.

Kanimbla resident and trial participant, Mr Joe Care said he felt like he was fighting an unwinnable fight against feral pigs.

“During autumn and spring of 2021, we experienced the worst invasion of feral pigs in 20 years in our part of the Kanimbla Valley.

“Our pristine paddocks were decimated - they looked like they were ploughed by a drunken farmer.”

“My frustration led me to contact Local Land Services for help, who introduced us to sodium nitrite.” he said.

Actions undertaken on Mr Care’s property using sodium nitrite showed excellent fast results, even during very wet seasonal conditions where feed was plentiful and other control methods would have been near impossible.

“I was initially sceptical of its effectiveness, but that scepticism was short lived when the first bating eliminated 20 in one hit.” says Mr Care.

The 18-month Central Tablelands trial involving over 20 landholders from areas around Capertee, Lowther, Glen Davis and Kanimbla, has resulted in the removal of over 200 pigs from the landscape.

Mr James Leslie of ‘Willowvale’ said “The biggest thing for me was that the system was easy to set, and I didn’t have to worry about euthanising or disposing of the animals”.

After eliminating over 40 feral pigs from his property, Mr Leslie says, “it’s a great product.”

Having a tool like sodium nitrite in the kit gives Local Land Services a great opportunity to help landholders attack feral pigs in farmland and ecologically valuable areas, and be confident of fast, effective, safe control over these destructive pests.

This project is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. For more information about the trials contact Matt Seaman at matt.seaman@lls.nsw.gov.au, or call 0417 613 673.

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