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New Livestock SA quarterly report gives industry overview

October 8, 2014

Livestock SA has started a new quarterly initiative called the State of the Livestock Industry to update the wider community on the seasonal outlook for producers and activities and issues important to the industry.

Livestock SA president Richard Halliday says livestock production is an important part of the state – from farming families through to consumers.

“Advocacy on behalf of producers is our main activity so keeping the issues that are important to them front and centre in people’s minds – both regionally and in urban areas – is what we want to achieve,” Mr Halliday said.

One of the key issues raised in the spring 2014 update is the State Government’sdecision to abolish the Pastoral Board.

The board sets and review rental agreements for pastoral leases in Far North SA. Board member Andrew Clarke, Allandale Station, via Oodnadatta, is urging concerned producers to contact Livestock SA.

He says disbanding the Pastoral Board will leave a void for many important processes for pastoralists, such as remediating property management planning issues, the relevance of the Pastoral Land Management Act and continued producer involvement in regulation.

“Pastoralists operate small businesses and we can’t afford to be held back by inefficient decision‐making as a result of the board’s removal,” he said. “Pastoral lease assessments are already three to four years behind so will the alternative to the board be better funded or is it expected to do more for less?”

Livestock SA has written to Premier Jay Weatherill outlining its concerns and asking that livestock producers be consulted and involved in developing a solution. Another key issue of concern for livestock producers is the prevalence of wild dogs in the northern pastoral regions and their penetration further south in the state.

Board member and Orroroo producer Geoff Power says Livestock SA and landholders are working with the Natural Resources organisations in the SA Arid Lands, Northern and Yorke and Murray‐Darling Basin areas to create a coordinated approach to wild dog control.

Mr Power chairs the South Australian Wild Dog Management Advisory Group, set up by Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter to advise him on wild dog control.

“Part of our advice has been to develop a State Wild Dog Action Plan. This plan has been presented to Mr Hunter and we are awaiting his reply before the plan goes to public consultation,” Mr Power said. “If we do not get on top of this problem, we will lose a vibrant, sustainable sheep industry in the pastoral areas and adjacent rangelands.”

Mr Power says there have been other states before us where this has happened. The pastoral area of Western Australia previously supported an industry of around 6 million sheep, in present times less than 200,000 sheep remain. Queensland had up to 20 million sheep 25 years ago, and now is down to 2.5m, mainly due to wild dog predation.

“The issue will move further south which will result in a peri‐urban problem with wild dogs menacing livestock and native animals around the Adelaide Hills and encompassing parklands. An example of this the Moreton Bay Regional Council that butts into the CBD of Brisbane which destroys up to 90 wild dogs per month.”