PROGRESS on the SA Dog Fence rebuild has almost reached the NSW border and, with reports of reduced dog numbers in the North East pastoral district, optimism about safeguarding the sheep industry against dogs is high.
SA Dog Fence Board chair Geoff Power said the fence was going up at a steady pace, with sections at Mount Lyndhurt and Mundowna Station ready to go.
"It is progressing really well - better than expected," he said.
But Mr Power said not all producers were baiting their properties and for the fence to be as successful as possible, baiting needed to be increased.
"Dog numbers are down and this is a crucial time to bait - the problem can change overnight though so we cannot get complacent," he said.
Thanks to a Northern and Yorke Landscape Board baiting and trapping program, Mr Power said populations had clearly reduced.
The resources and pastoral industries have also long been partners in the northern rangelands and Mr Power said this relationship was very beneficial and reiterated through the donation of vital building materials by major companies Santos and Oz Minerals.
"There has been a long relationship between mining companies and pastoralists - it is important that we support each other to make the region work for everyone," he said.
The companies donated drill rod to help produce fence posts for the Dog Fence rebuild to help ensure smooth progress on its construction continues.
More than 4000 lengths of drill rod will be donated to the project, to be used for fence posts for the 1600 kilometre fence.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said the government was delighted the large companies were supportive of the Dog Fence Board.
He said this was important for the once-in-100-year rebuild of the fence that protects the sheep industry.
"Santos and OZ Minerals have generously donated thousands of lengths of drill rod, which is highly in demand and often difficult to source, to ensure the rebuild continues to move along swiftly," he said.
The donation will help bolster building efforts after Australian Wool Innovation also loaned specialist fence-building machinery.
Depot Springs Station's Geoff Mengersen lives 30 kilometres east of Copley and 100km south of the Dog Fence, and has reported reduced dog numbers compared with past seasons, but has had an influx this past week.
"The professional trappers hitting country that had no dog management is the greatest benefit but at the weekend, my neighbour lost sheep," he said.
In the past 18 months, Mr Mengersen has noticed a drop in dog activity and a reduction in tracks and dens.
"We cannot take our foot off the throttle but at least it's decreased - I was losing 1000 sheep a year," he said.
"But all producers need to bait to keep numbers down."
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