Farmers fight on to contain feral animals

28 April 2021

ABARES’ latest report confirms that Australia’s farmers are spending significant amounts of time and money on battling pests and weeds.

The Pest Animal and Weed Management Survey 2016-2019: Land manager survey results revealed the vital role land managers play in managing feral pests and weeds.

ABARES acting Executive Director, Dr Jared Greenville, said the survey results demonstrated that land management in Australia was an ongoing job.

“We surveyed 6,470 farmers in 2016, and 8,059 in 2019 and they responded from across Australia. The biggest change we saw was a 41 per cent increase between 2016 and 2019 in farmers reporting crop loss, degradation or loss of value from pests, particularly insects,” Dr Greenville said.

“The impact of pest animals, particularly invertebrates, has increased between surveys, even considering the vastly different weather patterns between 2016 and 2019.

“However, the proportion of land managers reporting expenditure on managing pests and weeds went down between 2016 and 2019, and the average amount farmers spent on pest and weed management nearly halved from $20,405 in 2016 to $11,576 in 2019.

“This is mostly accounted for by the change in average weed expenditure which dropped from $18,633 in 2016 to $10,551 in 2019. Widespread drought in 2019 is likely to be a factor in the reduced spend on weed management.

“We do have to take into account the fact that 2016 had substantially high rainfall, while 2019 was a drought year. These factors affect the impact, numbers and distribution of pest animals and weeds.”

Pest Animal and Weed Management Survey 2016-2019: Land manager survey results is available on the ABARES website.

Last reviewed: 28 April 2021
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