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Farmers, RiverSmart and Local Land Services winning war on feral pigs

Working together has seen Trangie farmers control the local feral pig population for improved farm profitability and river health.

The work has been coordinated by Central West Local Land Services with support from RiverSmart Australia's federally funded NatureLinks program.

This funding has supported farmers' onground baiting and trapping activities through an aerial shooting program.

This combination is a powerful tool to manage feral pigs, according to Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer Lucas Scales.

"An integrated approach is the best way to manage pest animals," said Mr Scales.

"Shooting, baiting and trapping all have positives and negatives, but used together they are most effective.

"It's been a real pleasure to work with these guys. They all respect each other and they're out to work together. The communication here is fantastic."

Farmer and group member Ray Haigh is well aware of the economic impact of feral pigs.

"We know a pig can eat two lambs a night. A lamb is worth around $100, so that's $200 every night," said Mr Haigh.

"Through the aerial control program we can shoot him for $23, so it is an obvious choice. It's just one part of the program though – you are always doing other things."

Mr Haigh also advocates working with neighbours to control pest animals.

"Unless you're doing a big area, it's like throwing confetti in the air. It just doesn't go anywhere," he said.

"Working with as group allows you to do a lot more than if you just did it by yourself."

RiverSmart CEO Dr Bill Phillips is working with the landholder group to improve the Macquarie River's health.

"Everybody relies on this river in an economic sense. However there is also very strong cultural and recreational linkage with the river," said Dr Phillips.

"Most people fish, swim and otherwise enjoy the river. Keeping it healthy is important.

"Feral pigs destroy habitat, accelerate erosion and impact on our water quality. We are working to limit their impact and improve our natural resources."

To find out more about pest control, contact your Local land Services office or visit www.lls.nsw.gov.au

Image available on request: (L-R) 'Old Bundemar' Manager Angus Andrews (Hassad Properties) with Geoff Graham, Lucas Scales (both LLS) and pilot Darin Smith. Hassad are participants in the coordinated control program.

Media contact: Rod Campbell (0447 430 160 or rodney.campbell@lls.nsw.gov.au).