In good news for hunters but not farmers, large numbers of rabbits are on the hop across some parts of New South Wales, feeding on lush pastures in the wake of recent flooding rain.
Accoding to a report on the ABC website, New South Wales agriculture officials say December’s pasture growth was above average in most areas of the Upper Hunter Valley.
It seems rabbits area making a meal of the good seasonal conditions, prompting fears it will come at a cost to farmers.
Hunter Local Land Services biosecurity ranger Craig Crooks said farmers could not be complacent about control measures, as rabbit numbers were building.
“We’re getting a little bit of an increase in rabbits,” he said.
“Obviously, with the good season there’s plenty of feed about, plenty of water about, and so they’re sort of building at the moment.”
Wild rabbits have wreaked havoc across Australia in recent decades, costing farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity.
Control has been difficult in recent times, due to a growing immunity in young rabbits to the once-deadly calicivirus.
Mr Crooks said controlling rabbit numbers must be a priority.
“The problem that we find now is that there’s so much green feed, it is really hard to poison rabbits,” Mr Crooks said.
“We have to look at other forms of control as well, such as fumigation and biological controls, if we can.”