SHOOT TO KILL: The bodies of several wild pigs  were dumped at Wrights Rd, off of Old Wallangarra Rd.
SHOOT TO KILL: The bodies of several wild pigs were dumped at Wrights Rd, off of Old Wallangarra Rd. Contributed

Pig plague worsens in drought

DROUGHT in the Southern Downs is forcing feral pigs to scamper to new territory - causing widespread damage.

They kill crops, contaminate waters and massacre live- stock, with trails of devastation becoming more noticeable.

"They cause big impacts to the environment, not to mention disease risk (such as leptospirosis and brucellosis) but, now that it's so dry, the issue has definitely become more concentrated," council pest management officer Craig Magnussen said.

"I wouldn't say the issue is getting worse but I would say it's getting more noticeable because it's so dry and pigs are a lot more concentrated around waters and around food supply."

Cohabitation of feral pigs with livestock at feed and water points is of concern.

It doesn't take much or a lot of time for pigs to ravage a crop, with Mr Magnussen receiving increased reports of damage.

"Some people might not realise the dollar value of the damage pigs can do.

"I remember October last year, when it was really dry as well, I had one of the bigger farmers contact me because they had one lot of pigs coming in each night which caused tens of thousands of dollars to a lettuce crop.

"Pigs, and damage caused by pigs, are being reported in areas you wouldn't normally see it," Mr Magnussen said.

The council assisted by providing a 1080 bait service however many landholders were taking initiatives.

"So say lamb producers - they'll bait, they'll trap, they'll shoot to protect their business.

"We help by co-ordinating baiting programs. It's not just for the big-scale producers - it's right across the region."