Free fox control baits offered to Northern Tablelands farmers

Free fox control baits offered to Northern Tablelands farmers

Local Land Services urges landholders to join coordinated effort for effective pest management.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) is introducing a new initiative this year, offering complimentary fox control baits to all certified participants.

Given the threat feral foxes pose to both the ecosystem and livestock, LLS called on landholders in the Armidale, Walcha, and Guyra areas to join forces with their neighbours and engage in the Fox Baiting Program in June 2024.

According to Michael Smart, Biosecurity Officer at Northern Tablelands LLS, cooperation between neighbouring producers was key to the success of the program.

“This program has been running since the early 2000s, and we have always relied on the support of local volunteers to help us coordinate the groups at 18 localities across the region, and widespread participation from landholders. Through this support we are able to reduce the impact of fox predation on local ecosystems and livestock in the region.”

Michael Smart, Biosecurity Officer at Northern Tablelands LLS

Bronwyn Petrie, a Tenterfield farmer and member of the NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management Committee, said any support for farmers in controlling pests and weeds was always welcome.

“Farmers’ engagement in pest and weed control assists not only farming production systems but also the environment. Foxes are an ongoing problem across the tablelands and continue to impact lambs and kids,” Mrs Petrie said.

European red fox. Image: Local Land Services NSW.

“NSW Farmers is strongly supportive of coordinated approach to feral pest control in order to be more effective and achieve a greater result.  If farmers and crown land managers work in an ad hoc manner, then the outcome is watered down due to populations of feral animals being unaffected on some lands and then continuing to prey on neighbouring livestock and native animals.

“It’s important for cattle producers to also support the baiting program to ensure a good outcome across the area.”

Mrs Petrie said there was a “wild dog working group” based in Tenterfield, which also covered foxes.

“I’d like to encourage all farmers to join their local feral animal control group so they can be better informed and involved in a coordinated approach to achieve a higher level of feral animal control thus improving farm productivity, reducing stress on livestock and owners, as well as reducing the impact on our native animals.”

Bronwyn Petrie, Member of the NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management Committee

According to the LLS, community support was essential to controlling fox populations in the New England and Northern Tablelands, due to the nature of foxes travelling between properties.

In the Northern Tablelands region, landholders could collect baits for the control of foxes by joining their local pest animal management group. This allowed landholders to work together to bait simultaneously to cover a wide area, which resulted in better control outcomes across the New England area.

Farmers were urged to join their local fox control baiting group. The Northern Tablelands group’s baiting schedule was listed on the Local Land Services website.

All participating landholders were required to be accredited and must show their chemical card, or they could appoint an authorised agent to collect and deploy the fox control baits on their behalf through Northern Tablelands LLS.

There were also free online Vertebrate Pesticide Induction Training courses available, which provided accreditation valid for five years.

Learn more here.

Foxes were an invasive pest species known for preying on lambs, calves, and poultry, as well as spreading diseases and parasites to both animals and humans.

In addition to harming livestock, they negatively impacted the natural environment by spreading weeds and hunting native wildlife, such as possums, wallabies, birds, reptiles, and frogs.

Farmers keen to participate in the program were encouraged to contact Northern Tablelands LLS at (02) 6770 2000. More information available here.

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