What are you really feeding?

The North Coast Local Land Services biosecurity team can provide advice to primary producers in helping manage pest animals which can impact heavily on their bottom line. With supplemental feeding becoming more common with seasonal dry times, their advice is to get ahead of pest problems before they have an even greater impact.

Feral deer, feral pigs, wild dogs and foxes can all affect a primary producers’ bottom line by directly competing with livestock for feed or by killing or maiming them.

Dean Chamberlain, Team Leader Invasive Species for North Coast Local Land Services said, “We can all see that things are dry and feed on the ground is getting short and so can our pest animals.

“Feral deer and feral pigs will not only eat your pasture and any crops you may have planted but are also quite happy to eat the hay or grain supplement you might be feeding your cattle.

“Feral deer and feral pigs are capable of learning that the cattle feeder in the paddock is a good source of high-quality feed and will quite happily come and eat your hard-earned dollars and they can also affect water quality by wallowing in waterholes and creeks.” Dean said.

Wild dog and fox attacks tend to increase in times of dry weather as native animals become less abundant and available as a source of food. As the main calving season is occurring weaker cows will mean weaker calves which are easier prey for wild dogs and potentially foxes.

“Wild dogs hunting in packs, sometimes up to ten, are known to pull down weaners and grown cattle by running them to exhaustion or chasing them into gullies and scrub where they become trapped.

Dean continued, “Foxes can do damage to cows and calves and have been known to chew the tongues of newborn calves and chew the teats of cows that have difficulty calving.

“Attacks on small livestock such as sheep, goats and alpacas also become more common as they are seen as an easy target.” Dean said.

Primary producers who want to know more about managing their pest animal issues are encouraged to contact the North Coast Local Land Services Invasive Species team by calling 1300 795 299.

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