Wild pig numbers are “exploding” on the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, with farmers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the invasive pests.

Key points:

  • Local Land Services says wild pigs are ‘breeding like rabbits’ on the Central Tablelands because of the wet weather
  • One farmer has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from wild pigs killing his sheep
  • Landholders are encouraged to work together to bait, trap and shoot wild pigs to keep the numbers down

Farmers are reporting huge financial losses due to wild pigs, which have been breeding uncontrollably because wet winter weather has created an abundance of food for the feral pests.

Farmer Glen Burns said wild pigs had killed a “huge” number of lambs on his property at Trunkey Creek, near Bathurst.

He estimates he has lost about $300,000 due to wild pig activity so far this year, when he includes the cost of having to buy replacement sheep.

He is now going to focus on the cattle farming side of his business because the wild pig problem is so bad.

“We’re just going to lay off the sheep numbers for a couple of years until we can get on top of these pigs,” he said.

Mr Burns said he first saw pigs on his property about 25 years ago but this year they were taking an extra toll.

Breeding ‘like rabbits’

A 2020 report from Australian Pork Limited found there were 24 million wild pigs in Australia, costing agriculture $100 million every year.

Wild pigs not only kill livestock, that cause extensive damage to pasture, soil, fences and the environment.

The Local Land Services said feral pig numbers, and their range, had increased dramatically across the Central Tablelands this year.

“The pig situation is so widespread this year,” senior biosecurity officer Alistair Gordon-Smith said.

“There’s huge increases … the pig numbers have really extended across the whole region.

Wild pigs have been continually spreading across regional New South Wales.

A map showing the distribution of wild pigs across New South Wales.

Wild pigs are expanding their presence across regional New South Wales.(

Supplied: NSW DPI


Coordinated approach

The Local Land Services is encouraging landholders to work together to control pig numbers across the region.

Mr Burns said a baiting program using 1080 poison was already having a big impact.

Mr Gordon-Smith said baiting was the preferred option but trapping or shooting pigs could also help control the feral animals.

“It’s always best if landholders can work in with their neighbours,” he said.

Alistair Gordon-Smith said new sodium nitrate poisons were also available to landholders who didn’t want to use 1080.

Posted , updated 

Wild pigs ‘breeding like rabbits,’ causing huge financial losses
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