Farmers are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop losses, stock and maintenance, following the installation of a feral pig-proof fence at Kelso Reserve in the far southwest corner of NSW.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the NSW Government invested $280,000 on the 1.4-metre high 30-kilometre fence near Dareton.

“This fence has been constructed to protect local farms from feral pigs that had been wreaking havoc under the cover of darkness,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Feral pigs are declared pest animals that cause enormous damage to crops, livestock, farm infrastructure and the environment.

“They prey on newborn lambs, eat and trample crops, damage fences and irrigation lines, compete with livestock for pasture, up-root vegetation, foul water sources and can spread disease. This fence will help stop those impacts.”

Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall said fences like this complemented the effectiveness of the NSW Government’s control programs.

“Feral pigs cause $14 million in damages to our crops and pastures each year, so it’s crucial we use all measures necessary to knockdown their numbers,” Mr Marshall said.

“Baiting and aerial shooting programs are extremely cost-effective control methods, but fences such as this also are critical in protecting primary production from pests.

“These four-legged fiends are wide-spread through the state’s west, and cause significant economic losses, so fewer feral pigs mean less damage and more money in farmers’ pockets.”

Grazier Bill Barnfield, who runs a fifth-generation sheep and wheat property on 32,000 hectares, said the fence was stopping feral pigs coming in from adjoining mallee scrub and nearby Kelso Reserve.

“In one year we lost about 30 per cent of lambs from a flock of about 700 maiden ewes,” Mr Barnfield said.

“The fence has stopped the movement of the pigs which makes it much easier to eradicate them.”

Farmer Jaden Hopfner, who grows melons on 64 hectares, lost about $160,000 in produce in one year.

“I estimate we lost more than 100 tonnes of watermelons, as well as oranges and mandarins,” Mr Hopfner said.

“We could lose up to 30 per cent of a crop. The pigs would make holes in the ground, trample sprinklers and bite irrigation lines.”

The fence is protecting vegetable, citrus, stone fruit and grape crops as well as livestock. It has also stopped dog attacks on sheep.

The NSW Government will continue to monitor the situation and introduce further control measures if required.