Authors: Ahmed Hafi, Tony Arthur, Margarita Medina, Chandra Warnakula, Donkor Addai and Nyree Stenekes
Agricultural producers spend money and time managing established vertebrate pests and weeds, and also suffer production losses. In this study we draw on multiple sources of information to estimate what this costs. Estimates are provided both nationally and for states and territories, and for broad agricultural industries. For vertebrate pests we focus on European foxes, European rabbits, feral pigs, wild dogs, and feral goats. Costs arising from the potentially significant environmental and social impacts of pest animals and weeds, and impacts on infrastructure, were not estimated.
- In an average year established vertebrate pest animals and weeds are estimated to cost Australian agricultural producers at least $5.3 billion, with weeds contributing 82% of the total.
- Across states and territories average costs range between 4% and 17% of the local value of production.
- Management expenditure comprised of time and effort to address these pest and weed problems contributed 72% of the estimated cost.
Approximate costs ($ million/yearc) of established pest animals and weeds for agriculture
|Residual agricultural losses||>286||na||>286||>1,206||>1,492|
Note: a Estimate only for foxes, rabbits, wild dogs, feral pigs and feral goats b Estimate for all other feral pests including feral birds, feral deer, horses/donkeys, rats, mice, camels; c Average over up to 5 years to 2020–21 in 2020–21 dollars; na = not available.
Estimated costs ($ million/year) of foxes, rabbits, goats, pigs and wild dogs
|Pest||Private management expenditurea||Residual agricultural losses to major production systemsb||Total|
Note: a Based on private landholder responses to the ABARES 2019 Pest Animal and Weed Management Survey in 2020–21 dollars. b Average over 5 years to 2020–21 in 2020–21 dollars.
While the estimates presented here represent the best high-level estimates given currently available data and knowledge, it is important to note that there is considerable uncertainty in the results. Numerous assumptions are required to produce these estimates, which are identified in the report, and examples of how this uncertainty can affect estimates are provided.
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