From Feral to Fork

Earlier this month our RALF team hosted a fantastic ‘Feral Feast’ at the Central Greenough Café & Historic Settlement!

The day consisted of great food and plenty of information and practical advice for pest management of all kinds. We heard from a number of presenters who provided information about how to practice safe and effective pest and weed control. 

Kicking off the morning was one of our favourite queens of biosecurity Marieke Jansen from the Northern Biosecurity Group (NBG). Marieke updated the group on what the NBG have been up to recently, what they are planning for the coming year and how you can get involved. They are currently using GPS trackers on feral pigs to better understand their behaviour, allowing for more successful and targeted control. You can read more about Recognised Biosecurity Groups later on in this month’s edition of NACC Notes. 

Marieke Jansen from the Northern Biosecurity Group

DPIRD’s local biosecurity officer David Lisle gave us a rundown on managing feral rabbit populations around the country and discussed some of the national results from the RHDV1- k5 virus release. He also explained why rabbits are so good at ‘bouncing back’ and how we can all do our part to control them. Did you know that a rabbit doe can produce 50-60 offspring in a single season? Rabbits compete with many of our native herbivores for food and they are also a significant threat to many of our already threatened native flora.

Next up Natasha James of Wesuri Alpacas shared some of her extensive knowledge of alpacas. Their protective instincts make them an excellent option for using as herd guards to protect sheep, goats, poultry and pigs, from foxes and other smaller predators.

The lucky winners of our door prizes took home all local products!

Erin O’Connor, Environmental Planning Officer from the City of Greater Geraldton (CGG) spoke about the dreaded Boxthorn and how to safely eradicate this weed. The city runs ‘Boxthorn Blitz’ workshops each year and we encourage you to contact Erin if you would like more information. CGG have also created an excellent Boxthorn kit resource, including gloves, secateurs and herbicide which can be borrowed by members of the public to address small scale infestations.

Our final speaker was Andrew O’Dwyer fromMidwest Pest Management. Andrew spoke about hands-on pest control of rabbits, foxes, cats and wild dogs. Midwest Pest Management have recently acquired a Rodenator and Andrew explained how it works. It is one of the most humane methods for destroying rabbit warrens.

Like many problems in natural resource management, there is no silver bullet solution for pest management, but being aware of all the options available and more importantly, coordinating control with your neighbours, we have the greatest chance of success. 

After hearing from our awesome speakers, the group were treated to a delicious feast including ‘feral’ goat pies. 

After lunch, the group had a chance to make their very own rabbit-repellent spray! This is an easy recipe that can be used to stop rabbits from grazing on your garden plants. (We also wondered whether it might be useful for stopping our pet lambs too!) Recipe available here.

Thanks to all who joined us on the day and to our wonderful presenters for sharing their wealth of knowledge. 

(From left) NACCers Annabelle Garratt, Jarna Kendle, Callum Love, Kane Watson, Lizzie King and Phoebe Royce at the Feral Feast.

If you want to talk more about pest or weed management and where to get more information, please get in contact with our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators; Annabelle Garratt (E) or (P) 0448 986 879 or Lizzie King (E) or (P) 0447 361 335.

This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Lizzie King & Annabelle Garratt – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators

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