Top End stations hit by wallaby boom

Cattle producers and scientists are teaming up on a new project to manage agile wallaby numbers, which are booming across Top End pastoral lands.

Anecdotal reports suggest wallaby damage and control could be costing the industry almost $4 million each year, a figure which has nearly doubled since 2004.

Charles Darwin University researcher, Dr Miguel Bedoya Perez, says determining the extent of the problem will be the first step to finding a solution.

"It seems like the areas that are most impacted are up north, places like the Victoria River District, the Douglas-Daly and Adelaide River," he said.

"The cattle producers say they have a problem, they have too many animals grazing on their land, and they are having problems trying to control them.

"So we will be trying, station by station, landholder by landholder, to find out if they know how much it is costing to control the animals, and how much it is costing to have them around.

"That way we can make a cost-benefit analysis to see what the best options to control the animals are."

Meat and Livestock Australia is funding the one year project, which could ultimately see a management plan developed for the species.

However, Dr Bedoya Perez says even if the research does justify a case for broad-scale wallaby control, it could still be some time before that happens.

"If we eventually justify the development of a management plan, we are probably going to need some practice runs on different stations to see how it works," he said.

"So that will probably take another year.

"After that, we might be able to get a management plan working."

Source: ABC Rural