6 November, 2023
Culling feral pigs in the crosshairs
The NSW government has stepped up to the table for more serious pest control with the creation of the state’s first feral pig coordinator. Farmers and residents of regional and rural areas have long known the harm and damage caused by feral pigs is increasing in severity.
This year, Local Land Services (LLS) reported that feral pigs cause at least $100 million damage per year to Australia’s agricultural industry. Feral pigs are a terrible infestation on the land and have become worse with consecutive years of favourable breeding conditions across NSW the last few years.
The impacts on agricultural production and environment assets are exacerbated with the increase in population.
“Feral pigs are destructive animals that have huge impacts to farming operations, our economy and our biodiversity,” said minister for agriculture Tara Moriarty.
“A strong focus of the program is supporting landholders through practical training to help control feral pigs on their properties and subsided feral pig bait. Tackling a rising feral pig population requires government and farmers to work side by side, and this program will do exactly that,” she said.
NSW Farmers president Xavier Martin welcomed the funding but warned there is much more to be done. “Feral pigs are incredibly destructive animals, they destroy crops, tear out fences and ruin paddocks, kill livestock and native animals, and pose a threat to people – they’re a menace and they need to be brought under control,” he said.
“While LLS has culled more than 97,000 feral pigs, we know from our members that there are millions more out there, and until we get on top of that breeding population, we will continue to have problems. As landholders we stand ready to work with the government and LLS (Local Land Services) to tackle this problem,” said Mr Martin.
The new feral pig coordinator, Bec Gray, an experienced industry leader who has worked with landholders to manage feral pigs and other pest animals for the past 12 years, will drive the program. The target is to cull at least 87,000 feral pigs across NSW.
“We are here to provide support to farmers and to help coordinate large- scale feral pig control programs. Land managers need to play their role and participate in these programs. “I have seen firsthand the damage feral pigs cause to agricultural production and the environment, and I am pleased to see a dedicated feral pig program to assist landowners to manage this issue.
“One of the focuses of this program is capacity-building, to ensure landholders can continue to manage feral pigs on their property into the future to protect their farming operations,” said Ms Gray.
The new coordinator is encouraging farers and land managers to contact their nearest LLS biosecurity officer and coordinate efforts with their neighbours. With a lot of work still ahead to curb feral pig population growth and impact, a coordinated effort is becoming necessary to manage a very serious problem.