View sought on pest management

That infamous first Saturday in May has since past, which is always a great reunion of family and friends. While it is a great social weekend, it also serves a very good purpose in controlling the duck population, but this is only a minor part when you consider the other pests in the wider Otago area.

The tally on this page is from just one Central Otago property since January 1 this year.

Do these figures surprise or lead to further questions? We would be interested to have these discussions with our town friends.

Pest management has many benefits, not only from a farming perspective, but also a biodiversity, methane and carbon perspective.

Over the coming months, Federated Farmers intends to conduct surveys to start to quantify pest management in Otago and the rest of the South Island. We also want to know the contribution of feral animals to any water quality issues and any additional actions that are taken under the ethos of stewardship.

Our environmental regulation recognises the value of stewardship. In relation to farming, stewardship means the care and management of the land and water. In Otago, where there is a dominance of multi-generational farms, stewardship plays an important role as it recognises the landowner's knowledge and experience when determining what is best for the land and water.

One aspect of stewardship is pest management. With an increasing amount of forestry and riparian planting occurring it adds to biodiversity, but that, in many cases, is outnumbered by pest species. As with most farming aspects, it is about balance and continuous maintenance.

With this information, we can start to explain why pastoral farming provides a net environmental benefit in many situations. So keep an eye out for any surveys and please, if you have a good record of information, take a few moments to share that data.

Pest tally to date*

Possums 52

Goats 465

Rabbits 373

Cats 15 

Rats 18 

Mice 3 

Deer 7 

Pigs 3

Hedgehog 1

Trout 18 

* Found on one Central Otago property this year