More cash for pests welcome

Cash help: Funding to tackle weeds such as serrated tussock is good news for farmers. Photo by Contributed

A new joint investment by federal, state and territory governments in managing feral pests and weeds is good news, the National Farmers’ Federation says.

The Federal Government announced on January 19 it would invest a further $20 million in pest and weed control, which would be matched dollar for dollar by each state and territory.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates farmers dedicate on average 66 days and spend about $11,500 on weed control and $8000 on feral animal control per property every year.

“National collaboration on this critical problem is of paramount importance. Pests and weeds don’t observe state boundaries and their effective control requires an all-of-nation approach,” NFF’s Tony Mahar said.

The investment will facilitate projects to reduce the overall burden of pests and weeds on-ground through activities such as co-ordinated control, destruction and removal — including trapping, baiting, culling and biological controls.

Projects will have application on private and public land. State and territory governments will be responsible for the delivery and the identification of projects, which will be subject to Federal Government approval.

“Feral animals and invasive weeds not only represent a large cost in terms of money and time for control, they also contribute to diminished farm productivity,’’ Mr Mahar said.

“Pests such as pigs and deer, and weeds like African lovegrass and serrated tussock are also massive risks to biodiversity, competing with native pastures and contributing to erosion and the degradation of soils and waterways.”

Mr Mahar said it was essential for state and territory governments to consult with farmers on the prioritisation and development of projects.

“Farmers are at the coalface of the impact of pests and weeds. They must be included in the decisions taken to control and prevent the spread of what are a scourge on agriculture and the environment.’’