A group of South East livestock producers have successfully participated in a community-led feral deer control initiative in an effort to reduce the impact of the pest animal in the region.
About 30 farmers from the Upper South East, in liaison with Primary Industries and Regions SA and Natural Resources South East, recently undertook a commercial harvest trial across a number of neighbouring properties.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the trial supported landholders to reduce feral deer pressure.
"Feral deer don't respect property boundaries and are seen as a pest threat to agriculture in South Australia, so there is a need for strong co-operation between neighbours as part of effective control measures," said Minister Whetstone.
"Many local farmers take proactive steps to reduce the population, including individual on-ground culling efforts, erecting deer-proof fencing and taking part in aerial culls.
"Investigating this landscape-wide control option could see another tool for farmers to use in the fight against feral deer.
"South East producers are playing a vital role in sharing their knowledge with each other and increasing the understanding of deer impacts in the area."
Member for Mackillop Nick McBride said the local community saw important benefit in being involved in the project.
"All the farmers involved in this project were very enthusiastic to be part of the trial, supporting each other and working together to give this a real go," said Mr McBride.
"There is a strong sense of community here, with all involved reporting a large reduction in feral deer in a short period of time."
Livestock SA President Joe Keynes is a strong supporter of the collaborative feral deer control initiative.
"Deer have been a big problem for us for a long time," said Mr Keynes.
"We are working with the State Government and several farmer groups across South Australia to support feral deer control.
"South East producers were very enthusiastic to be involved and see how this initiative complemented their own individual control work, along with the annual aerial culling program.
"We feel the trial went well, and hope this method proves to be a viable option in feral deer control."
Producers are encouraged to support the trial through reporting feral deer sightings on the community-based online reporting tool, DeerScan.