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Feral goats in south-western Queensland: a permanent component of the grazing lands

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Thompson, J., Riethmuller, J., Kelly, D., Miller, E. and Scanlan, J. C. (2002) Feral goats in south-western Queensland: a permanent component of the grazing lands. The Rangeland Journal, 24 (2). pp. 268-287. ISSN 1036-9872


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ02015


Feral goats were harvested in south-western Queensland at four sites under two regimes (opportunistic harvesting and sustained control). We assessed how this impacted on their contribution to total grazing pressure, on soil and pasture conditions and on the economics of goat management. The population impact was not consistent across sites with the same treatment, with 62% and 84% reductions in numbers in the two northern sites (one opportunistic harvesting site and one sustained control site) while numbers in the southern sites essentially remained the same. The contribution of goats to grazing pressure ranged from 3 to 30%; kangaroos contributed 16–36%; and livestock contributed 37–72%. Harvest rates of feral goats calculated for each of the sites ranged from 17 to 41%. There was no consistent relationship between population changes and the harvest rates. Seasonal conditions had greater influence on pasture and soil conditions than did changes in feral goat populations. The average cost of mustering goats (based on 34 operations) was $1.93 per head. Mustering costs increased markedly when goat density was lower than 10/km2. Average trapping costs (based on 7 trapping programs) were $2.08 per head. This compared with on-farm prices of $16–$25 per head in 1997. Personal circumstances and preferences of individual landholders were the key determinant of the level of control undertaken. Variability in price contributed to landholders being apprehensive about the viability of the goat industry. There are few simple tools available for landholders to estimate feral goat numbers and this makes effective management of total grazing pressure difficult.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Live Archive:17 Jan 2024 23:46
Last Modified:17 Jan 2024 23:46

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