Autumn is a critical time for landholders to undertake fox baiting and stop young foxes in their tracks, according to Natural Resources SE authorised officers Josh Rosser and David Robertson.
At the recent Sheep Connect SA Technology Day at Konetta Station near Kingston SE, they stressed the importance of baiting in autumn to improve lambing percentages, but again in spring to control numbers, when reproducing adult foxes required more food.
Mr Rosser encouraged farmers to think carefully about the placement of their baits.
“Foxes will use farm tracks, cattle pads, sheep pads and they like to use landmarks, so if you have a single tree in a paddock put it out there,” he said.
Both Mr Rosser and Mr Robertson said meat-based 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) was still the cheapest, most effective poison, but two new fox control products had hit the market in the past 18 months – para-aminopropiophenone (known as PAPP) and new canid pest ejectors to administer 1080 capsules.
PAPP is also a meat-based bait but has a different mode of action to 1080, being absorbed into the bloodstream and preventing oxygen transport to the brain.
Mr Robertson said it had the advantage on 1080 of having an effective antidote, methyl blue, for accidental poisoning of dogs, but it must be administered by a vet soon after poisoning.
A downside of PAPP was its cost, about three times the price of 1080.
Mr Robertson said the canid pest ejectors, available from rural merchandise suppliers for about $65-$70, also had their place, especially for poisoning foxes suspected of stockpiling baits, or in areas close to where farm dogs roamed.
The 1080 bait capsules were a similar price to the meat-based baits but were protected from the elements so remain viable for extended periods, if stored correctly.
“The triggered device, when live, administers a shot of 1080 to the fox once it puts its jaws around the bait head and pulls up vertically,” Mr Robertson said.