Winton's proactive wild dog management committee sees an ongoing role for natural resource management group Desert Channels Queensland as it works to maintain its baiting schedule.
This was one of the outcomes of a landholder forum on pest management participation held as part of a DCQ field day at Nuken, north west of Winton last week.
Led by the shire council's rural lands officer Geoff Cox and three producers, John Banning, Shane Axford and Ben Ogg, it explored issues such as absentee landlords, working with national parks, and the costs of baiting.
Winton Mayor Gavin Baskett complimented the committee, which has baiting coordinators for five different sectors, on the job it was doing, saying having conversations with people was one of the most important things to do.
"It's about raising the issues - you don't know how good a job you're doing until you stop doing it," he said.
It was thought there were around 100,000 sheep still running on shire properties, and the council puts $300,000 a year towards wild dog management.
RLO Geoff Cox said the drop in participation in coordinated baiting days could partly be because people were doing it themselves on an as needs basis, or because they weren't seeing a lot of wild dog activity.
That was confirmed by cattle producer John Paine, who said his primary reason for baiting was to protect stock.
"In the last two years there's been a lot less stock - I think when the stock come back, you'll see more participation," he said. "I haven't been seeing much dog activity."
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Shane Axford, whose property is 60km south of Winton, said the shire's aerial baiting was targeted largely at breeding areas in its more rugged country, and was having a beneficial impact.
"We're holding them - there's been no large packs until just lately," he said.
He believed timing and coordination were the main factors in the program's success, but said he had also put exclusion fencing in.
"I've done that not for today but for the future," he said.
He said he'd been assisting properties along his road with ground baiting because of the overall benefit he believed it would bring to the shire.
"I'm putting the time in because I love Winton and I don't want to see it decline," he said.
Mr Cox responded to questions about national park involvement, saying they had a good relationship with the Bladensburg National Park ranger at present.
"They have their own policies and procedures that we're not aware of," he said. "There's a lot of negativity around national parks but we're trying to work with them."
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Mr Axford said rising fuel and meat prices meant it was getting more expensive to run aerial baiting campaigns, but there was meat available 24/7 in town for producers.
With less people at baiting days, Mr Cox said DCQ assistance would be invaluable in training people to inject baits, in order to keep up with planes.
Mr Axford said the collection of data to justify budget requests would also be useful.
"The message seems to be, we can help by breaking the problem into bite-sized chunks," DCQ treasurer Rob Williams said.
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