RICK and Jenny Keogh conservatively estimate wild dogs have cost one year's gross income from their bottom line over the past five years, or a loss of $400,000.
The Keoghs live 110km south of Blackall and run 2500 stud and commercial ewes with progeny and 250 cows with progeny for their Terrick Merinos brand.
Last year, they bought $40,000 worth of lambs to replace stock lost to dog attacks in their 2012-drop lambing. This doesn't include the loss of mature sheep that were maimed or killed by indiscriminate attacks through the same period.
The Keoghs have begun a fencing program to try to stem wild dog attacks and prevent any greater loss of income, putting up 15km to protect small groups of special stud breeding ewes during the coming lambing, at a cost of $50,000.
The final stage of the fencing project, 38km, will be rolled out during coming months to give the rest of the sheep flock a safer environment.
"We've had to reduce sheep numbers so they can all be inside our fence," Mr Keogh said.
"We run cattle outside our fence but doing this is a loss of $100,000 a year to our gross income. Cattle are about critical mass. We can't go all cattle on the land we've got and have enough money to put food on the table. We would dearly love to have more sheep, but under the current constraints, that's no longer possible."
The Keoghs say they are also questioning any future investments in property or sheep.
"The distress to the stock and the losses if you don't fence are intolerable, but the cost of individual property fencing is crippling," Mr Keogh said. "The wild dog situation over the next one to two years will dictate which direction our business goes."
They both believe wild dogs are no longer just a producer problem but are now heavily impacting on regional diversity and development.
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