Avoiding mouse plague
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.