Wild dogs are the cause of massive livestock deaths estimated to be worth close to $200,000 and that valuation was based on low livestock values in past years.
This figure does not take into account the millions that have been spent building private exclusion areas, trapping, or baiting.
Over decades a 5000 kilometre dog proof fence has been constructed from Queensland through NSW and into Western Australia in an effort to control the movement of wild dogs and in some cases specifically dingoes.
The issue of dingoes and their place in the environment has surfaced after an Indigenous group called for the reintroduction of the dingo back into central Victorian state and national parks. Researchers are claiming that restricting dingo movement with a fence has damaged ecological balance.
Claims that the dingo is a native species do not stack up. It is believed they came with indigenous settlers around 4000 years ago, which means they have had ample time to be part of an evolving environment. Leaving aside any argument of dingo populations in the outback, it is well recorded that when domestic breeds cross with the dingo the result is a formidable feral dog. Probably if the dingo population remained pure they would be more acceptable except for when they come in contact with humans. They have been known to attack.
The move to reintroduce dingoes into Victorian parks should ring alarm bells. Apart from any harmony the dingoes may have on the environmental control of species, the plan would head to disaster if feral dog populations exist. Farmer organisations have been quick to condemn the idea. Opinions of those in areas already under attack from dogs should be heeded. Recently, a Queensland cattle breeder reported that he had lost calves to a dog attack. Also, privately owned dogs continue to cause problems where urban areas sit alongside farmland.
When will critics move away from blaming one dollar a litre milk for short and long-term problems in the dairy industry?
Whilst returns play a part in profitability it is costs that are impacting on dairying. Add to this poor seasons and all the effort needed does not seem worthwhile. Industry advisors have recently pointed out the cheapest fodder source is from productive pastures. The wide range of clovers, grasses and fodder crops now available is light years ahead of 20 years ago.
The dairy industry continues to be at the cutting edge of technology take up. It is the cost of grain, rates, power, fuel and labour that hit hard. No, it is not cheap milk, as all supermarkets stock UHT at a dollar a litre. Returns are heavily impacted by the world market, however, a bright light is the lift in butter sales fuelled by consumer demand moving back to butter away from substitutes. Which only proves you can fool some of the people some of the time.