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Pig trapping Peer to Peer

Words Juliana Foxlee | Photo provided

A Cape York NRM project is asking farmers what changes should be made on their properties to support them and their businesses, and funding a number of their suggestions.

Regional Extension Coordinator Oliver McConnachie explains:

‘I’m running a project to help farmers and land managers learn from each other through regular get-togethers, meetings and workshops.

‘There is a new Grazing Group and a new Precision Agriculture group up and running in Cape York,
and also a new Grazing Group has started up in the Tablelands area. Groups are focusing on alternatives to inorganic fertilisers, such as microbial soil conditioners for improving productivity in mixed cropping, horticulture and the grazing industries.

‘Members have been getting a lot out of these groups – they get to share new ideas in a non- threatening context and this helps them to feel less isolated as farming and grazing can be uncertain, demanding and stressful business.

‘One of the exciting things is that members of the groups have access to a pool of funding, known as Peer to Peer Funds, for improving management practice and for Peer to Peer learning events.

‘These events can be beneficial to the production bottom-line short term as well as for trailing new technologies at the local scale where benefits may take a longer time to be realised.

‘There is also flexible funding for training and other project work... there are lots of options.

‘One of our first Funded events saw Cape York NRM staff get together with the Cape York Precision Agriculture Network (PA group) and install three JAGER PRO M.I.N.E. Automated pig traps on three southern Cape York properties in April 2019.

‘Feral pigs are a major problem across the Cape, and cause lots of problems for fruit, vegetable and grain growers as they basically plough up the ground and destroy the crops and even fertigation and irrigation infrastructure.

‘Farmers are generally time poor so the traps are designed to reduce the time normally needed
to conduct a coordinated feral pig management program.

‘These traps are equipped with high resolution cameras that detect movement and transfer images directly to your cell phone. The poised gates can be activated remotely from your phone to maximise animal trapping.

‘Just over two months in, the project has been really successful. We have trapped 37 pigs, the farmers have learned the ins and outs of installation and
by working together can better coordinate feral pig management at a larger scale with ease. Traps will be shared amongst the PA group and remain their property.’

‘Excitingly, this is only part of the project – we are also putting in weather stations and partnering with the Bureau of Meteorology to improve the accuracy and resolution of weather data, help farmers

better manage their water resources, expand on
the current options farmers have within Precision Agriculture, and also benefit the wider community. Once the program is fully functional there may be a whole lot more benefits that will emerge.’

‘I really encourage Cape York and Wet Tropics Farmers to get in touch and find out more about the Grazing and Agriculture Peer to Peer learning groups and come along and throw around some ideas to utilise Flexible and Peer to Peer Funds.’

Regional Extension Coordinator Oliver McConnachie can be contacted on

oliver.mcconnachie@capeyorknrm.com.au