Rabbit control job for the pros: station owner

Rabbit control job for the pros: station owner

Rabbit command requires to be saved on top of and performed properly by pros, a Central Otago superior place station proprietor says.

Ida Valley Station owner Callum Paterson runs up to 30,000 inventory units on his 12,600ha assets, which lies in between 400m and 1040m previously mentioned sea level, about a 50km drive east of Alexandra.

The stock contains great wool sheep, a tiny beef breeding herd and some winter season dairy grazing.

Together with Mr Paterson, the station has seven full-time staff — a few doing the job on inventory, two driving tractors and a single executing servicing.

Dry seasons and rabbit plagues, specifically in the mid to late 1980s, led to a decrease in most well-liked pastures of clovers, cocksfoot, sweet vernal and indigenous blue tussock and the progress of invasive weeds, this kind of as hieracium.

“In the late 80s, you’d shift a block of inventory and commit two several hours driving property, taking pictures a few hundred rabbits — they ended up everywhere you go.”

Soon after calicivirus was introduced in 1997, the rabbit populace declined radically.

“Overnight, it brought them down to just about nothing at all.”

He stopped any kind of rabbit control.

“We took our foot off the throat, contemplating it was likely to be that way for ever but the figures little by little returned.”

In 2007, he and his neighbours collectively used a rabbit shooter, but rabbit quantities continued to develop.

In 2013, he advertised in the newspaper a full-time occupation for a rabbit shooter to work entirely on his station.

About 70 persons responded.

“It’s the most replies I had for a work because people today have a romantic strategy of receiving paid to shoot rabbits, not imagining they would need to have to do it at evening and in cold, unfavourable situations.”

He utilized two inexperienced rabbiters — equally “fly-by-nighters” — and the rabbit inhabitants got out of regulate.

Shooting rabbits was not enough to control figures.

“I considered I was going to preserve myself a couple of bucks by executing that and you get persons in who don’t know how to do it appropriately, so you are improved off making use of contractors.”

About four many years ago, he referred to as in qualified pest contractor Robert Andrews.

“That is how we’ve bought again on prime of it.”

Expert contractors knew a range of manage strategies and the most effective time to use them.

In the very first year working with Mr Andrews, he expended about $20 for every hectare on rabbit management, including spreading carrots laced with poison in winter season.

Now you were being blessed to see a rabbit on the station on any offered day.

Even with rabbit figures falling, he retained utilizing Mr Andrews, investing about $8 per hectare a 12 months on rabbit regulate.

“It is an insurance plan we have to retain spending.”

When rabbit numbers have been booming, he believed it cost him a lot more than $30 for each hectare a yr in misplaced generation.

The war towards rabbits could be received, if everybody, such as way of life block house owners, worked collectively, played their section and obtained the task carried out right.

“You need superior contractors, or else it won’t be completed properly.”

It was suitable the land occupier had obligation for the command of rabbits.

Expecting a regional council to control rabbits was “like asking your dietitian to cook your steak, as a substitute of a chef”.