Problems with pests on agenda

THE ticking time bomb that rising feral pig numbers pose to agriculture will be under the spotlight in Gympie later this month when industry experts speak with local farmers on a range of growing pest issues.

Rabbit numbers, wild dogs and Weeds of National Significance such as parthenium, lantana and giant rats tail will also be targeted.

The workshop, hosted by AgForce Queensland and Conservation Farmers Inc, features speakers from Biosecurity Queensland and Animal Control Technologies.

Estimates of feral pig numbers in Australia are as high as 23.5 million and they occupy more than 38% of the nation - mostly New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The feral pig density in the Gympie region is classified as "common to widespread" but it is increasing.

An aggressive competitor for food with native animals in rainforests, the pig is also an agricultural pest, costing the industry more than $100 million annually.

It competes with domestic livestock for food and damages fences and crops such as cereal, sugarcane and corn.

THE threat of an exotic disease outbreak such as foot-and-mouth disease, for which feral pigs are known transmitters, has led to increased efforts to control them.

Jamie Dennison from Animal Control Technologies will talk about pig numbers and loss of production land, and will introduce a new feral pig baiting station when he visits Gympie.

Senior zoologists from Biosecurity Queensland will discuss the wild dog and rabbit problems and the national co-ordinator of WoNS, Craig Magnussen, will introduce the 12 new weeds, with a focus on those impacting and likely to impact on the Burnett/Mary River catchment.

The Gympie session will take place at the Mary River Motor Inn on June 21.