Monitor mice to reduce crop damage risk

GRAIN growers throughout the southern cropping zone are being advised to exercise vigilance in monitoring for mouse activity as the potential for crop damage this year remains high in some areas.

With support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the National Mouse Management Working Group (NMMWG)* is urging growers not to become complacent with their monitoring regimes.

NMMWG chair Ian Hastings says that monitoring must continue to occur on a paddock-by-paddock basis and growers should be prepared to bait immediately after sowing where higher than normal activity is identified.

“Even though mouse activity levels are generally lower this autumn compared with last year, there are still areas at significant risk of mouse damage,” Mr Hastings said.

“Some breeding has been occurring and in those areas where mice caused significant damage last year or where paddocks are at high risk, considerable precautions must be taken.”

Mr Hastings, a Victorian grain grower, said paddocks with high risk characteristics were those that attention had not been paid to since harvest, were growing self-sown crops or infested with weeds, had been subjected to little or no grazing and carried an abundance of grain on the ground.

A recent meeting of the NMMWG, which was set up last year to address the then developing mouse plague situation, discussed the extent of current mouse activity.

In Victoria, activity has been described as:

  • Generally low to medium across the grain belt, but higher in parts of the Wimmera, particularly east of Nhill and near Rupanyup, as well as at the western end of the Millewa and at Carwarp, south of Mildura.
    In South Australia, activity has been described as:
  • Generally low to medium across Eyre Peninsula, apart from patches of higher activity between Cleve and Tumby Bay and on the west coast near Wirrulla;
  • Generally low on Yorke Peninsula, apart from some isolated hotspots along the coast in the Port Victoria region.
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