The need for innovative and evidence based approaches to pest animal management is imperative for Australian farmers if the agricultural industry is to hit its predicted boom.
The release of an ABARES report has forecast that the agricultural industry will pass $60 billion for the first time next financial year, with financial growth expected in the areas of livestock and cropping.
Conservative economic projections, funded through the Invasive Animals CRC, have estimated that without rabbit biocontrol, the agricultural industry would suffer costs in excess of $1.17 billion per year. Clearly, long term and strategic approaches for all invasive species, including rabbits, wild dogs and carp, will assist in benefiting the Australian economy.
Through innovation generated via the Invasive Animals CRC, we have produced the world’s first manufactured feral pig bait and pig specific bait delivery system and developed cutting-edge DNA detection tools to efficiently identify invasive predators and fish. We are also on track to release the first rabbit biocontrol agent in 20 years and Australia’s first carp biocontrol agent.
To maintain momentum and stay on top of the invasive animal problem, a national innovation collaboration, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, is being formed with industry, government and research partners, to take over from the Invasive Animals CRC once it ceases in mid-2017.
The CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC, Andreas Glanznig has stressed the need for an integrated approach to invasive species management to avoid potential losses to the Australian economy, through loss of agricultural income and impacts to the environment.
“It is time to move pest animal management away from a single species approach and focus on a multi species approach, where we fully understand the interactions between species and outline the strategies for best management outcomes,” said Mr Glanznig.
“Our research and extension activities align with the National Farmers Federation Blueprint for Australian Agriculture and the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper goals of using innovative technologies to improve the productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture,” said Mr Glanznig.
The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions proposed innovation program includes real time technology tools for surveillance and monitoring of invasive species such as wild dogs, and major investment in long term and strategic biocontrol programs and community-led integrated management.