Banana growers in northern Queensland are being urged to start a feral pig trapping program to reduce the risk of spread of Panama disease tropical race 4.
Biosecurity Queensland’s Acting Panama TR4 Program Leader Rhiannon Evans said there had been reports of increased pig sightings and activity on farms in recent weeks.
“Because Panama disease tropical race 4 is a soil borne fungus, it can be spread by animals when mud sticks to their feet and fur,” Ms Evans said.
“Even though the infected property at Tully has been taken out of production, growers shouldn’t be complacent about on-farm biosecurity and should manage all disease pathways, including potential spread by feral animals.
“Starting a well-planned trapping program in conjunction with neighbouring farms is an effective way to manage feral pig populations and to reduce the risk of spread of Panama disease tropical race 4,” Ms Evans said.
Ms Evans said there had also been reports from growers of feral pig hunters entering farms without permission.
“While we acknowledge that feral pig hunting is a popular recreational activity for many people in the region, hunters trespassing on private land may be putting banana growers at risk.”
The Panama TR4 Program, in collaboration with key agencies, has launched a feral pig trapping guide for banana growers on the Cassowary Coast.
“A joint trapping program between neighbours has been proven to be a much more effective way of managing feral pig numbers than hunting with dogs. There are a number of resources available locally for growers to start trapping pigs on their land.”
Cassowary Coast Regional Council has pig traps and hog hoppers for loan and information on how to use them. Hunting with dogs in national parks is not permitted unless it is part of an authorised pest management plan implemented by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). If your farm is adjacent to a national park, QPWS can assist with traps and expert advice.
The feral pig trapping guide can be downloaded from the website www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au under ‘Panama disease’ or call 13 25 23.