Officers to deal with wild dogs

NEW frontline officers in Central Queensland will be dedicated to destroying wild dogs and protecting crops.

The Agriculture Department is recruiting a crop protection officer for Emerald to work closely with grain and cotton industries and a wild dog destruction officer for Blackall to work with graziers.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said, responding to a Question on Notice, from Gregory MP Vaughn Johnson, also said there were many research, development and extension initiatives to support rural industries in the Gregory electorate.

He said the government wanted to double food production in Queensland by 2040.

Mr McVeigh said researchers in Longreach and Rockhampton were investigating ways to manage native and improved pastures, and sown forages, for the beef industry.

He said new pasture spelling strategies would increase livestock productivity and maintain soil and pasture health.

Mr McVeigh said the Leading Sheep team staff in Longreach was similarly working closely with wool and sheep meat producers to keep them abreast of the latest production technologies developed at the Sheep Cooperative Research Centre.

He said livestock research, development and extension in Gregory was also supported by state-wide research outcomes such as research on buffalo fly control and rumen inoculum - which allows cattle to safely graze on Leucaena - at the EcoSciences Precinct in Brisbane.

Mr McVeigh said there were also new chickpea varieties being bred specifically for Central Queensland, which was released in 2011 with improved yield and reliability under hot, dry Central Queensland winter conditions.

He said chickpea production in Gregory was worth about $25 million a year. Mr McVeigh said new mungbean varieties were also being bred as disease resistant and higher yielding than previous types for Central Queensland.

"The department's Crystal variety of mungbean was extensively tested in Gregory and is now the main variety grown in the electorate," he said.

"It has 20% higher yield than all previous varieties.

"Research conducted by departmental researchers, including two sorghum breeding staff based at Emerald, is delivering elite sorghum germplasm which will increase the productivity and profitability of Central Queensland's $64 million sorghum industry.

"Finally, citrus research centred at the Bundaberg Research Station is developing new improved varieties of mandarin that will benefit producers throughout the state, including the significant production zone near Emerald in the electorate of Gregory."

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