Enabling organic properties to control wild dogs

The control of wild dogs through baiting without compromising organic status was the focus of three workshops held at Nonning, Anna Creek and Mundowdna in November.

Thirty eight participants took part in the workshops, representing 18 properties that covered more than 46,000km2 (or 4 million hectares) of the South Australian rangelands.

Organic guidelines for baiting wild dogs presented at the workshops were developed in consultation with the organic industry and aligned with the National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP). The guidelines aim to help producers improve pastoral productivity by reducing attacks on livestock while maintaining access to premium organic markets.

Each workshop demonstrated fencing standards and options, how to tether baits, use canid pest ejectors, drying racks that restrict movement of baits and protect birdlife, bait monitoring, signage requirements and safe bait transport and storage.

In the afternoon, participants were shown how to develop a wild dog management plan, including mapping baited areas and a spreadsheet application for recording the exact GPS bait station locations.

There was also a chance to ask questions with representatives from organic certification companies, PIRSA, the National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP) and the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board.

“The workshops were well received and people were encouraged to learn how they can implement effective wild dog control measures while remaining compliant with Australian and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic certification programs,” State Wild Dog Coordinator Heather Miller said.

Guest speakers at the training sessions were National Wild Dog Coordinator Greg Mifsud, State Wild Dog Coordinator Heather Miller, SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Coordinator Chris Havelberg, National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia’s Melanie Bullers and Ben Copeman from Southern Cross Organics. 

The Far West Dog Fence Boards Association used Smart Farms Small Grants funds to run the workshops and to develop the demonstration sites. The workshops and hosting sites assisted certifying organisations work with land managers to develop control programs that meet wild dog legislation and organic accreditation requirements.