Timing is right for rabbit control

By Southern Riverina News

Rabbits have the largest impact of any pest in Australia, both economically and environmentally, according to regional pest animal coordinator John Nolan.

He said they contribute to land degradation, weed dispersal, the removal of native pastures and plantings and of course crop damage.

Following rain in April and May, rabbits are in a breeding cycle and Mr Nolan said winter is a good time to try and reduce pest numbers.

‘‘Rabbits are seasonal breeders and this will normally occur after we’ve had rain and things start to green up, which is what has happened.

‘‘Landholders are encouraged to look out for fresh digging at roadsides and coordinate control if they discover an active warren.

‘‘For broadscale areas we recommend the use of baited carrots or oats. Once you have the rabbits knocked down, you need to rip the warrens. Now is a great time to do it, when the ground is a bit softer.

‘‘If you only have small pockets, or where you have livestock or other non-target species around, fumigation is the better option. If there is moisture in the ground and warrens it is activated much better and will help you get a quick knock down.’’

Mr Nolan said when landholders are searching for signs of rabbits, they should also be looking for signs of virus or myxomatosis.

‘‘The rain has also brought a big explosion of flies which are carriers of the virus,’’ he said.