Free rabbit busters workshop in Kyneton

Staff at Agriculture Victoria Services, Attwood, (from left) leading biosecurity officer Nigel Robert, from Bacchus Marsh, biosecurity manager John Matthews, from Casterton, and biosecurity officer Michael Hansford prepare packages of K5 vials for distribution to farmers. Photo: Caroline Potter, Victoria DEDJTR

Staff at Agriculture Victoria Services, Attwood, (from left) leading biosecurity officer Nigel Robert, from Bacchus Marsh, biosecurity manager John Matthews, from Casterton, and biosecurity officer Michael Hansford prepare packages of K5 vials for distribution to farmers. Photo: Caroline Potter, Victoria DEDJTR

Are rabbits a problem on your property? Would you like to learn from experts the latest information on rabbit control?

Why not come along to a free Rabbit Busters Workshop, organised by the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network, on October 20 at the Redbrick Hall in Yaldwyn Street, Kyneton from 1-3pm.

With feral rabbits capable of doing large amounts of damage to properties, managing them before they multiply makes sense. Rabbits do an extraordinary amount of damage to Australia annually with the overall loss caused by rabbits to agriculture and horticulture in Australia recently estimated at $206 million per year.

With a pair of rabbits having the reproductive capacity to reach 184 rabbits in 18 months a small problem can quickly become a large one. Rabbits can cause serious erosion problems, and can threaten the survival of some native species by damaging their food source and habitat. It takes less than one rabbit per hectare to prevent the successful regeneration of many native trees and shrubs.

John Matthews, biosecurity officer with Agriculture Victoria, will speak about the new RHDV1 K5 rabbit virus and explain how to maximise the impact of the release and help reduce rabbit numbers on your property.

"By attending this workshop, landowners will gain an understanding on appropriate use of the new virus and how to obtain it," he said.

"The combination of an improved biological control agent in RHDV1K5, community led rabbit management, and using best practice rabbit management principles, should provide opportunity to manage and maintain rabbit numbers at low levels."

Mr Matthews will also provide information on the latest local, state, and national evaluation of the establishment, spread and impact of the virus, including where the virus has established, where it has spread and what level of impact it is having.

In August, the Victorian Rabbit Action Network released small grants to community groups to develop and lead rabbit management action plans to better establish K5 into the future. More information on these can be found at www.rabbitaction.com/about

To book for the workshop call 5421 9660 or email environment@mrsc.vic.gov.au

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