Feral pig battle goes hi-tech
BREAKTHROUGH technology, never before used Australia, may be brought in to help control destructive feral pigs from crippling farms.
Yarramine Environmental consultants are looking at the development of technology to allow remote monitoring of pig traps.
The researchers also are looking into the use of automatic feeders to coax feral pigs into control areas and gates that can be triggered to shut from 1000km away.
An explosion of feral pig numbers in the Gympie region has led to local farmers suffering significant crop losses and land damage.
The macadamia industry has estimated about $500,000-worth of crop losses occurred in south-east Queensland due to the pig plague, with some of the worst-hit farms listed at Wolvi and Anderleigh.
Suncoast Gold Macadamias farmer Brice Kaddatz said the issue with feral pigs in the Gympie region "has galvanised community action and landholders are pooling resources with government departments and private industry to bring this costly plague to heel".
Groups of landholders including beef, macadamia and ginger farmers who have been affected by the pigs met with other groups at Downsfield and Wilsons Pocket last Thursday to address the problem.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife, the Australian Macadamia Society, Suncoast Gold Macadamias, Gympie Regional Council, Burnett Mary Regional Group, HQ Plantations and Yarramine Environmental came together with growers to pinpoint properties on maps and consider what action should be taken over coming weeks.
"All reported ongoing direct losses and damage to drains, creeks and wet areas caused by the pigs rooting the ground up in search of their favourite snack of roots and earthworks when macadamias are not available," Mr Kaddatz said.
"QPWS is planning its approach in relation to the sticky issue of controlling pigs in the dense national park and forest areas.
"Producers shared their problems and success stories. At least two macadamia growers who have used exclusion fencing were present and shared their success.
"Many properties offer a real challenge to fence, so effective baiting and trapping become the viable options."
Landholders around Gympie are urged to report pig traffic on or adjacent to their properties. This information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0438 861 198.