Counting roo costs

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Counting roo costs
Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010

Stonehenge grazier and AgForce member Michael Pratt, Waroona has experienced the damage caused by macropods first hand and is urging government and the kangaroo industry to work together to solve the problem.

Mr Pratt is one of many AgForce members who are throwing their weight behind the push to find new solutions to manage the impact macropods have on-ground.

"Kangaroos are the biggest threat to our viability – we can manage drought, wild dogs and low prices but the kangaroos really have us beat."

"Unless there is dramatic change in the way the industry is managed, then our future is in serious doubt."

Mr Pratt said his 40 000 hectare property is in recovery after enduring eight years of drought, but has seen fresh new growth destroyed after his kangaroo population exploded to more than 9 000 after rain. 

"This equates to 6 000 extra sheep we could be running and at today's prices, that's income we cannot afford to lose.

"About 75% of the roos I see here are too small for commercial harvesting due to decades of continually shooting only the biggest ones. This type of activity continues to create a smaller species with many does now too light to make weight, meaning we have a huge imbalance of does over bucks."

Mr Pratt said although he welcomed native species on his property, a particular problem was an imbalance between species that are meant to naturally occur in his region.

"The biggest problem for us is the Eastern Grey kangaroo, which is not native to this region. I am told they migrated here during the 1970s, after the Red roo population was overharvested. During the drought, Eastern Grey kangaroos remained long after the Reds had moved on and after we had trucked out our domestic stock, flogging our country bare to eventually die of starvation or perish at a dry dam.

"I would suggest that if harvesting quotas are changed to include a set ratio of small, medium and large macropods, a natural balance between Red and Eastern Grey kangaroos could be reestablished and we would see a reduction in total numbers.

"It is about time the regulators of the industry listen to the concerns of those at the coalface of this problem, while there is still time to correct the imbalance and create a sustainable and profitable kangaroo industry.

The AgForce Macropod Advisory Group urges all producers to complete online survey to collect accurate and detailed information about the on-ground impacts caused by macropods. The survey is anonymous and all individual responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

To complete the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/88CSGCH.

Counting roo costs

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