Landholders across the Wheatbelt have been urged to step up monitoring and reporting for mice and to take action to protect this year’s cropping program.
Populations of mice have built up in the Mid West over the summer, particularly in the Northampton district, while Ravensthorpe also continues to be a hot spot.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Season 2022 webpage has advice to help landholders reduce mouse populations, as well as links to further information on control measures.
DPIRD Esperance manager Brendan Nicholas said it was important for landholders to control mouse numbers as best they could now so populations did not threaten this year’s crops.
“Mice can cause damage at all stages of crop development, including seeding, tillering, during grain development and mature grain so it’s best to get on top of control measures before seeding starts,” he said.
“Damage tends to be most severe at sowing so it is critical to control mice as the crop is being sown
“Baiting will help to minimise the potential for damage.”
Landholders are encouraged to monitor paddocks to determine the extent of mouse populations and to report observations to FeralScan’s Mouse Alert Service to aid regional intelligence.
“Monitoring and detection are essential to achieve effective control and can include the use of active burrow counts, census or chew cards and trapping to determine the number of mice present,” Mr Nicholas said.
“Indications that mice are present include numerous burrows, mouse droppings and more prey in the vicinity.
“Late afternoon and evening are the best time to monitor, using at least three 100 metre long by one metre wide active burrow searches, lightly covering the mouse holes and revisiting them the next morning to record how many have been re-opened.”
Even if mice are not observed, landholders are encouraged to monitor again prior to seeding if mice are expected to pose a problem.
Articles on the economic considerations for mouse control and diagnosing mouse damage are available via DPIRD’s Season 2022 webpages, as well as a link to the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Mouse Management webpage.
Mice are not a declared pest in Western Australia so it is up to landholders to implement control measures to protect their crops and those of their neighbours.
The department recommends the use of recently developed 50 gram per kilogram zinc phosphide baits, which has demonstrated increased effectiveness.
Landholders are advised to adhere to strict label requirements governing the use of zinc phosphide baits and to ensure livestock and pets are restrained to reduce the risk of poisoning.
Good onfarm hygiene is also imperative to reduce the risk of mouse damage, including cleaning up spilt grain around sheds and silos, mouse proofing grain storage and stock feed areas, while grazing stubble could also be useful.
For more advice and links to further mouse control information visit www.agric.wa.gov.au/season2022.
Picture caption: Wheatbelt landholders are urged to monitor and report mice populations and to take evasive action now to protect this season’s crops.
Source: WA DPIRD