Farmers who recently had to deal with a plague of mice are now increasingly dealing with feral pests wild boar and dog Numbers are booming.
Wet weather across NSW has created heavy breeding conditions for the predators, with mobs of up to 60 hogs being sighted on individual nights.
NSW Farmers Wild Dog Coordinator Bruce Duncan said as surface water dried up, the pests made their way towards permanent water sources such as farm dams, with numbers being particularly high in the state’s far west.
Watch the latest news on channel 7 or stream for free 7plus >>
“I’ve seen crowds of 20 or 30 pigs on a regular basis … you get crowds of small pigs … and we’ve seen multiple litters from the same pig,” he told AAP.
“They can quickly breach fields and fences, attack lambs and kid goats, and also transmit diseases.”
A vision captured in western NSW as part of a wild boar and dog surveillance program showed dozens of wild boar roaming free. Some adults weigh 100 kg and more.
“There are big pigs out there,” Mr Duncan told AAP.
“Pigs can come in and do a lot of damage … especially in some rangelands, they can dig up a lot of it, and nothing grows in that country until it goes through another flood,” he said.
Mr Duncan said there was also increased wild dog activity, although dogs tended to be more elusive.
He said a worker in far west NSW saw two feral dogs rounding up sheep last week before later finding dead animals in the area.
There are more than 23 million wild boar in Australia, costing agriculture more than $100 million a year.
Feral dogs are also taking their toll on the industry, costing authorities an estimated $50 million in administrative costs before even counting livestock deaths.
Queensland sugarcane farmers have also told AAP that “it’s been a particularly bad year for hog numbers.”
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said it was vital to remain vigilant and work through coordinated pest control.
“Farmers are regularly catching more than 60 pigs in a single week – it’s just a huge problem right now,” he said.