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Rabbits do love their veg! Rabbit impacts on horticulture in Queensland

Elsworth, Peter and Wang, Ruisha and Steinke, Lisa and Minns, Shannon and Leung, Luke (2017) Rabbits do love their veg! Rabbit impacts on horticulture in Queensland. In: 17th Australasian vertebrate pest conference.

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Abstract

The rabbit-proof fence maintained by the Darling Downs and Moreton Rabbit Board has protected much of south-east Queensland from the impacts of rabbits. The horticultural industry in the Lockyer Valley region has benefitted greatly from this protection. In the last seven years, an incursion of rabbits has entered this horticultural region from the north, having come around the top of the rabbit-proof fence. Landholders have no experience in dealing with rabbit impacts and the level of the impacts is unknown. Currently rabbit numbers are relatively low and extensive warrens are yet to be established. Rabbits are inhabiting farm buildings and overgrown river banks and feeding on adjacent lawns and crops. The close proximity of farms and townships and the nature of habitat use by rabbits leads to challenges in managing this pest. Until the last couple of seasons, rabbits had been present without causing noticeable damage to crops. In the last two years however, landholders are seeing significant crop losses. The impact of rabbits to the horticulture industry is potentially very large, however the exact costs due to rabbits is unknown. We use a combination of pen trials, damage simulation trials and field trials to estimate the damage that rabbits could cause to a number of horticultural crops. We also measured the impact that different control techniques had on mitigating the crop losses.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Impact assessment
Plant culture > Horticulture. Horticultural crops
Deposited On:12 Jan 2018 01:00
Last Modified:12 Jan 2018 01:00

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