Avoid­ing mouse plague

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

A MOUSE plague that is threat­en­ing much of ru­ral Aus­tralia doesn’t need to be a dis­as­ter for hay farm­ers.

Feed Cen­tral has re­leased a new guide to help pro­duc­ers to con­trol mice in their hay sheds and to avoid the sig­nif­i­cant dam­age that a plague can cause.

Wet and cold weather has been forc­ing mice into stacks of hay and Feed Cen­tral manag­ing di­rec­tor Tim Ford said the guide was de­signed to over­come a short­age of in­for­ma­tion on the sub­ject for pro­duc­ers.

“Many re­gions are now fac­ing sig­nif­i­cant mice pres­sure but sound man­age­ment can re­duce the risk,” Mr Ford said.

Last year, Feed Cen­tral suc­cess­fully fought a mice plague in its own sheds.

“We did lose prod­uct, but it was not the dis­as­ter it could have been,” Mr Ford said.

“To be­gin ‘the fight’ we did a lot of re­search and to help clients in the same sit­u­a­tion we com­piled a brief fact sheet on mice con­trol,” he said.

While ad­vis­ing farm­ers to make their own de­ci­sions, the fact sheet out­lines ways to make the en­vi­ron­ment un­ap­peal­ing to mice.

The guide said that early de­tec­tion and early ac­tion is crit­i­cal.

It de­scribes bait­ing as the most com­mon con­trol op­tion and sug­gests farm­ers shouldn‘t hold back on the num­ber of bait sta­tions, par­tic­u­larly around farm build­ings, fod­der and grain stor­age.

“If there’s in­creased mouse ac­tiv­ity you should in­crease bait­ing num­bers sub­stan­tially and im­me­di­ately and check the bait sta­tions ev­ery 24-48 hours.”

Bait sta­tions should be placed close to or against walls and should be placed closer to­gether and more of­ten if mice are seek­ing other food sources.

“Bait­ing is worth­while, even where there is a large amount of feed, be­cause mice like a va­ri­ety of feed sources.

“They don’t want to eat hay and grain all the time.

“It can be costly, so it is worth spend­ing the time and ef­fort in get­ting it right,” Mr Ford said.

The guide also out­lines op­tions for fu­mi­ga­tion and nat­u­ral con­trol mea­sures, while adding that bait­ing has an ad­van­tage over fu­mi­ga­tion in that farm­ers can man­age it in­ter­nally safely and cost ef­fec­tively.

LIKE WILD­FIRE: Mice are flock­ing to hay in huge num­bers across the state.

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