WILD dogs are now estimated to cost agriculture $89 million a year with rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and other pest animals putting the total bill as high as $797 million a year.
The report by the NSW Natural Resource Commission updates the economic impact of pest animals undertaken by Wendy Gong and colleagues in 2009. Then the impact of wild dogs was calculated to be $48m.
The report analyses the economic impact of pest animals relating to production losses from livestock attacks and competition, along with the management costs associated their control.
Increased commodity prices have contributed to the nearly doubling of the national economic impact of wild dogs.
Centre for Invasive Species Solutions chief executive officer Andreas Glanznig said that the economic cost of pest animals to agriculture was on the rise and costing farmers dearly.
"The costs associated with impacts from rabbits, wild dogs, foxes and feral pigs have all significantly risen since the last estimates were undertaken,” MrGlanznig said.
“Our agricultural products, such as Australian beef and wool are world class and are making top dollar on the market.
"These increased commodity prices have contributed to the nearly doubling of the national economic impact of wild dogs, which is on average at $89m a year. The last analysis had wild dog costs at $48m ayear.
“Underlying this cost is the huge number of lamb, sheep, calve, cattle and goat deaths and mauling’s that have impacted the producer's bottom-line and livelihood.”
The report also found that the cost of pest animals to the beef industry alone are up to $220m/year, and losses to wool industry is at nearly $100m/year.
Mr Glanznig said it was important for government, industry and community groups to act on this significant national problem.
“Just over the past few years governments and industry have invested many millions for research and development of new tools and technologies, as well as for strategic landscape management such as cluster fencing, to tackle pest animal problems,” Mr Glanznig said.
“These new figures emphasise the need for strong, coordinated and collaborative action.”