While the State Barrier Fence has been in various states of repair over the past 10 years, today it is as strong and effective as ever. The improved fence will complement other measures to minimise the impact of wild dogs on livestock in the agricultural region.
The impacts of wild dogs on small livestock enterprises was documented in 2007 in an independent report entitled ‘Benefit - Cost Analysis of the State Barrier Fence’, published by URS Australia Pty Ltd. This report estimated the impacts of wild dogs on small livestock production in the State’s agricultural areas, where dogs occur, was between $11 and $18/hectare.
The URS report showed that by completing the State Barrier Fence and modifying it to prevent wild dogs entering agricultural areas, there could be an annual benefit to agriculture of $4.4 million per year. Strategic fencing is widely recognised as an effective tool in the management of wild dogs and other feral animals.
Similar positive feedback was received during a grower survey undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia in 2013, which sought comments on the effectiveness of the fence:
- A grower at East Hyden stated that for the first time in two years his neighbours’ properties were running sheep on adjistment. One of these properties had no crop for that season.
- A cattle producer at Holt Rock claimed that since the fence had been upgraded he had not had any trouble with wild dogs pushing his herd through fences or any damage to tails or calves. He stated he now had confidence to run cattle on his most easterly paddocks.
- A grower at East Hyden reported he could now use paddocks located against the fence for grazing sheep, however he did not lamb in these paddocks.
- A farmer north of Mukinbudin said he would not crop at all this season, and had sent 1000 head of sheep to Kulin on adjistment, and had sold another 500 head, leaving 500 head due to lamb on the Mukinbudin property.
- During the survey, all but one grower felt the upgrades to the fence had been very successful in preventing wild dogs from impacting on farming operations. In addition, several felt that the fence had a positive impact on limiting damage by Kangaroos.
- The majority of growers surveyed have reduced the percentage of cropped area this season due to financial and climatic conditions.