News Archive

New Board Member

December 2019
The committee is pleased to announce it has a new member joining its ranks as of the AGM in October.  New Board Member Linda Evans from Napier Downs adds a ‘West Kimberly’ dimension to the group and will be a valuable asset. Meanwhile both Rick Ford and Lynette (Jim) Craig put up their hand to serve another three year term.  Lynette has been a member of the committee since the KRBA formed out of the old ZCA’s in 2010 whilst Rick has been a member since 2013. Mike Shaw was once again elected Chairperson with Lynette Craig taking up the Vice Chair’s role.

Cost Benefit Analyses - Donkey Program

November 2019

In 2019 two benefit cost analyses were undertaken to provide an estimation of the cost-effectiveness of various options for the Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity Association’s feral donkey control program in the Kimberley region.  Only the economic benefits and costs of feral donkey control were considered, it is emphasised that other benefits include the opportunistic removal of other large herbivores and pigs, reduced environmental impact, reduced biosecurity risk, more timely identification of significant weed infestations, and reduced nuisance value for the cattle industry. 

The first analysis looked forward over a 30 year time period with four different options considered - 

  • Current control: This option represents the current level of donkey control resulting in a 3% increase in donkey numbers through time.  This option gave a Benefit Cost Ratio of 2.1 with a net present value gain to the pastoral industry of $2,623,000 over the 30 years.
  • Maintain numbers: This represents a small increase in control effort compared to current effort, such that current donkey numbers in the region are maintained over the 30 year time horizon.  This option gave a Benefit Cost Ratio of 2.6 with a net present value gain to the pastoral industry of $3,831,000 over the 30 years. 
  • Eradication: This option reflects halving donkey numbers in the region each year until donkey numbers are kept low, only increasing through migration.  This option gave a Benefit Cost Ratio of 2.0 with a net present value gain to the pastoral industry of $3,934,000 over the 30 years.
  • Stop control for 10 years then start again: This option represents a break from control activities for 10 years, then starting again in year 11 through to 30 with control effort resulting in a similar number of donkeys in the region after 30 years as is expected from option 2.  This option gave a Benefit Cost Ratio of 2.1 with a net present value to the pastoral industry of $2,468,000 over the 30 years.

The second analysis provided an estimation of the cost-effectiveness of the program over the last 40 years.  The results suggest that the program has provided excellent value for money. The Association has spent approximately $8.4million over the 40 years life of the program. Adjusting this value for inflation and compounding it to account for the opportunity cost of investing this money elsewhere, this has an estimated present value of $78million.  The benefit derived from this effort is estimated to be $268million (in present values and accounting for inflation). The Net Present Value (the difference between the benefits and costs) is estimated to be $220million and the Benefit Cost Ratio (the ratio of the benefits to costs) is estimated to be 3.8 (for every dollar spent, the ‘bang for the buck’ is $3.80).

Grader Grass – a new weed to the Kimberley

July 2019
Grader Grass (Themeda Quadrivalvis)

Grader grass is thought to have entered the Kimberley region relatively recently. Although it is not yet widespread across all the region it is common in parts of the North Kimberley. In particular along sections of the Gibb River, Kalumburu and Mornington Roads. Infestations range from a scattering of plants on the road verge to large swathes moving away from the road down table drains. Grader grass seeds are not adapted for dispersal by wind or water so its spread is primarily been associated with earth moving equipment and collecting seed in the radiator or under carriage. It can rapidly grow up to two metres tall, sometimes reaching full height within 6-8 weeks. Seed heads can appear within 5-6 weeks of germination but much earlier on late germinations. It generally germinates at the onset of the wet season and typically starts to seed from February through to April.

It is an undesirable species in grazing and conservation areas of Australia. It can invade both native and improved pastures and, due to its low palatability, greatly reduce animal productivity if it becomes the dominant species. It is an opportunistic invader which when established competes strongly with existing and establishing perennial grass tussocks, particularly in overgrazed and degraded pastures and disturbed areas. Because it is generally ungrazed grader grass can generate large fuel loads increasing the risk of wildfires. These impacts on ecosystems are often long-term or irreversible.

Currently the RBG is mapping as many of the known infestations as possible. This work will be ongoing over the dry season along with documenting different control strategies both in the Kimberley and the Northern Territory. The information once gathered will be made available to land managers and other stakeholder groups and could potentially influence direction of the organisation’s own weed programs. This is a weed that could potentially become common across the Kimberley and if so would become a significant problem for land managers.

If you think you may have seen grader grass please contact our Field Officer Blu Gaff on 0429 171 016. Grader Grass is currently not a declared weed in the Kimberley but that may change in the future.

New Field Officer on board

March 2019

The RBG committee is very pleased to announce that it has a new Executive Officer joining the ranks. The fulltime position has been split into two part time positions. The existing Executive Officer – Dick Pasfield will be joined by Nerylie (Blu) Gaff. Blu has had extensive experience in weeds, in particular neem control in the East Kimberley region and also has a lot of experience working with farmers on their own control programs around Kununurra. Blu will start her position in late April and will be heavily involved in engagement with the membership as well as some of the weed work around the region.

Two New Committee Members

December 2018

Two new pastoralists have recently joined the RBG committee, John Gedders from Roebuck and James Camp from Kalyeeda Station. This gives the committee a good geographical perspective east - west but it was acknowledged at the recent AGM it does lack input from the north Kimberley. Mike Shaw from Spring Creek was once again elected to the Chair’s position at the AGM. Mike has been now in the position for four years.

Wild Dog Signage

December 2018

Wild Dog Poison Bait SignsBy now some of you would have noticed warning signs alerting both visitors and locals that poison baits are present on pastoral stations. In all there are twenty signs erected by the RBG between the De Grey River and the Duncan Road turn off in the Northern Territory. Six of these signs are on Shire roads and fourteen are in designated 24 hour rest areas. Unfortunately Mainroads WA did not allow any signage on their roads however the numbers of caravans that pull up into rest areas during the dry season gives those signs very good exposure. In a count of caravans in July some of that larger rest stops had in excess of 50 vans in them, whilst the smaller ones still had ten or more.