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GAB water infrastructure remains key issue for pastoralists

Ageing water infrastructure in northern pastoral regions continues to be a key issue for graziers and was highlighted at the Livestock SA Northern Region meeting at Mungerannie last month.

Livestock SA continues to work with the State Government to find solutions to the issues raised by pastoralists in relation to the management of Great Artesian Basin bores, in particular the long-standing commitment to delivering water in a closed system and upgrading and maintaining existing bores.

State Government agencies have requested some bores are capped, but because of high water temperatures and pressure, many pastoralists have expressed concerns that this could cause bore casings to burst further down, which could cost upwards of $1 million each to fix.

Wild dog control, north and south of the dog fence, remains an ongoing issue for northern pastoralists with reports of more than 170 wild dogs trapped on inside country since the start of 2017.

The maintenance of the dog fence is not the issue, but rather that wild dogs have been able to breed and build up in numbers inside the fence. It is a hugely concerning issue for pastoralists, particularly given the trauma that wild dogs cause to livestock and native animals.

Outside of the fence, feral rabbit numbers remain low and it is hoped the recent introduction of the Korean strain of calicivirus will help populations to remain limited in number.

Discussion at the meeting also covered development of the ‘Brands App’, a smartphone application that will provide a one-stop-shop in recording each producer’s brand and details. This app is currently in development following the State Government’s decision to do away with management of the Brands Act last year. Livestock SA continues to call for further feedback from producers.

Issues with stock straying onto neighbouring properties continue, with Livestock SA working with individual landholders to develop a standard regarding stock straying onto neighbouring properties, this will be modelled on similar guidelines that have been developed by the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association.

Backpacker labour remains key in northern regions of the state, and Livestock SA continues to push for exemptions in-line with current practices already in place in the NT. It would mean pastoralists will be able to employ backpacker for up to 12-months, rather than the current practice of six-months.

COLIN GREENFIELD, Northern Region Chairman of Livestock SA

30 March 2017 Media Type: Column / Policy Area: Water security /