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Wild dog exclusion fencing essential for economic growth in Balonne

16 August 2018

Balonne Shire Council is hoping to boost sheep production by facilitating the installation of wild dog exclusion fencing and help grow the regional economy.

Mayor Richard Marsh said Balonne Shire had received a $725,000 Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Grant from the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy (DNRME) to implement strategic wild dog exclusion fencing.

“Our Council officers are working in conjunction with Maranoa Regional Council to establish a cluster at Woolerina-Yendon, and with cluster group landholders in east Thomby and Wingi-Jimmi,” he said.

“The project will provide up to 283km of exclusion fencing and encompasses an area of 105,000ha.

“This fencing will enable landholders to move into or increase sheep production which is more labour intensive than cattle and more economically viable for landholders.

“Our region has been hit by extended drought and generally sheep are better adapted to arid or semi-arid land than cattle so it makes economic sense to help landholders to make the change to sheep.

“Raising sheep enables landholders to produce meat, wool and hide which will in turn create more employment and draw people back into the south-west.

“In areas where wild dog exclusion fencing has been established there has been an increase in lambing percentages of up to 70%.”

Cr Marsh said a lot of work had been done over a number of years to bring this project to fruition.

“Studies have shown exclusion fencing has a good impact on predation rates and has boosted lambing rates, so not only do we tackle a pest problem, but also increase economic confidence in the sheep industry,” he said.

“By increasing sheep production it is hoped this will boost our regional economy and halt our population decline.”

The Mayor said wild dog exclusion fencing was not a new concept in the south-west with fencing being used in the region from the early 1900s.

“Our property and many others had a six foot (1.82m) fence surrounding them back in the 1960s, but many landholders left sheep and went into cattle and the fences were not maintained which has resulted in an increased wild dog population,” he said.

“It would be great to see our shire, our neighbouring shires and our state ride an economic upturn on the back of sheep production.”