PREMIUM
Management

Rabbit control action urged

Act now: Summer and early autumn is the prime time to enact rabbit eradication plans. Picture: Andrew Mather Photo by CISS 2021 competition

Agriculture Victoria and the Victorian Rabbit Action Network are encouraging landowners to get together with their neighbours to plan a rabbit control program, with summer and early autumn the best time to reduce local rabbit populations.

Agriculture Victoria biosecurity manager Jason Wishart said the best rabbit control results were achieved when landowners worked together and implemented management programs when rabbit populations were at their lowest.

“With food scarecer over the summer period, there is a natural pause in the breeding cycle, so the time to act is now,” he said.

Mr Wishart said control techniques such as baiting and ripping also became more effective at this time of year because the rabbits were more likely to eat bait and the soils were more friable and better for ripping.

“The most effective programs are those that adopt the ‘rabbit recipe’ which is an integrated approach using a combination of baiting, ripping and fumigation,” he said.

Mr Wishart said effective rabbit management was especially critical at the moment because rabbit populations were predicted to increase as a result of the late browning of vegetation this spring and summer.

“Research indicates that the late browning of vegetation in spring and summer can result in increased rabbit populations the following year,” he said.

“With the wetter conditions we are seeing this spring and summer, it is very important to control rabbits now, so they don’t get a chance to build up.”

Landowners are urged to talk to their neighbours and form community rabbit action groups that can share the cost of contractors to conduct baiting, ripping and fumigation over multiple properties, making it more effective.

Victorian Rabbit Action Network chair and north-west Victoria farmer Gerald Leach said it was essential that communities were motivated and supported to conduct effective rabbit control programs.

For more information about best practice rabbit management visit Agriculture Victoria’s website at agriculture.vic.gov.au/biosecurity/pest-animals/invasive-animal-management/integrated-rabbitcontrol or vran.com.au