Rabbit warren ripping continues to be an effective contol method.
Landcare groups continue rabbit ripping in the Mallee
The Nyah West, Waitchie, Ultima and Swan Hill West Landcare groups have been busy with rabbit ripping in their respective areas.
Rabbits have been identified by these groups as a high priority problem in the Mallee and, in order to tackle this problem, the Landcare groups have prepared environmental action plans to highlight areas where rabbit warrens currently and traditionally exist.
The groups applied for and received funding through the State Governments Second Generation Landcare Grants program to fund rabbit ripping works in these high-priority areas. The Second Generation Landcare Grants program is administered by the Mallee CMA with direction and advice from an advisory panel.
Several issues had to be dealt with prior to the ripping commencing:
the Landcare group members marked the rabbit warrens with flagging tape to show the contractors exactly where the warrens wereEach area to be ripped required cultural heritage approval And a vegetation overlay of each site was checked for significant or rare plants in the vicinity of the ripping
The Landcare groups utilised the services of Werner and Walter Bruckmann, registered rabbit rip contractors from Chinkapook. The Bruckmanns have two ripping machines that were originally forestry log skidders. These machines have been imported from Germany and converted to specialist rabbit ripping machines. The unique four wheel drive, 160 horsepower “ Kramer” machines rip very well with surprisingly little effort and revs.
During the ripping process, the contractors had a GPS in each of their machines and each warren was counted and marked/downloaded onto a data base for Mallee CMA records.
Mallee roadsides have been targeted along with areas of high conservation value for the ripping works program. By controlling rabbits in vegetated areas such as roadsides, it improves both production inside the paddock for Mallee dry land farmers and also the flora and fauna values of the Mallee eco system.
The responsibility for roadside rabbits (as well as both pest animals and pest weeds on roadsides) continues to be the responsibility of the adjoining landholder, although moves are underway to change this through legislation. However, this legal process has been long and drawn out as many local councils are wary of taking on the high costs associated with handling the responsibility of roadside pest plants and pest animals.
Bruckmanns’ three-tine ripper has been particularly valuable in this work in vegetated areas as it has the ability to get in under vegetation without damaging it. It can also rip and cross rip to a depth of three feet, which is a requirement for the Mallee CMA.
Landcare Group members have also utilised Bruckmanns for additional private ripping works while their machines were in the district, as they agree that the Bruckmanns’ ripping machines can achieve a lot of ripping for their hourly rate.
Other Landcare group members have been using their own tractors and rippers, while some have been using the Landcare groups five-tine rippers to complement the ripping program.
For more information contact Mallee CMA landcare co-ordinator Malcolm Thompson on 50364828 or 0427 514378.