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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2015 2016
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2015-16 41 AgForce Sheep & Wool A third consecutive year of dry conditions has seen more than 85% of Queensland drought declared and much of central-west and south-west Queensland destocked of sheep and cattle. On top of the drought is the curse of the wild dog. While AgForce continues to take the lead in promoting awareness of the issue and educating producers in control techniques, we are also continuing lobbying efforts with all levels of government and RDCs to fund new initiatives and improve existing policies. The formation of a stakeholder group to oversee federal and state funding opportunities for exclusion fencing and on- ground control is one such initiative. In the past two years, this group has allocated $20.6 million of funding to wild dog control, with $12.5 million going towards feral animal exclusion fencing. Exclusion fencing is the last line of defence protecting Queensland’s sheep industry from wild dogs and successful running of current fencing projects will hopefully lead to further government funding opportunities and increased privately funded fencing. An ongoing increase in privately funded exclusion fencing is already indicating a strong desire for Queensland’s sheep producers to ensure the longevity of their industry. Animal health and welfare is another ongoing problem for Queensland sheep producers given the drought. Over the past few years, livestock producers have had to make the harrowing decision between paying for feed or agistment to keep their stock alive or selling before fitness and condition take their toll. However, Queensland producers have had the assistance of the Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) team, led by Operations Manager Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson, in developing a Property Biosecurity Management Plan and coordinating a series of sheep health and disease workshops over the three-year program. LBN recently won the Australian Biosecurity Award for its work in improving on-farm biosecurity practices, and with the help of AgForce, ‘Leading Sheep’ and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) will be conducting a further series of health and disease workshops to prepare producers for restocking following the drought. Even though drought and wild dogs continue to torment Queensland livestock producers, every day is one day closer to the drought breaking and sheep and wool producers gaining better control over their industry.