Grain Producers Australia is urging farmers to heed the advice of scientific experts when it comes to making decisions about managing escalating mouse numbers.
The national grain grower advocacy group recently attended a forum where NSW growers heard from CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Grains Research and Development Corporation and NSW Farmers.
GPA southern director Andrew Weidemann said while NSW was experiencing the brunt of the mouse plague, grain producers and their regional communities throughout Australia, are seeing higher than normal mice numbers.
Mr Weidemann said this reinforced the need for clear advice and GPA was supporting recommendations based on new research conducted by the CSIRO.
CSIRO research officer Steve Henry shared a number of tips with growers at the forum, including:
- Go for a walk in the paddock, look for the first signs of damage, and if you are seeing signs of mice be prepared to bait early with the ZnP50 bait.
- If you can't get ZnP50 use ZnP25 but continue to monitor to ensure that you have achieved a knockdown.
- Baiting early before there is a lot of other food in the system provides mice with the best opportunity to find the bait and get a lethal dose.
- Continue to monitor crops in the lead up to harvest.
- Harvest clean - big yields are often associated with short harvest windows.
- Grain left after harvest sustains mouse populations through the stubble phase and into the autumn when they could cause damage as you sow the next crop.
Mr Weidemann said GPA helped establish the National Mouse Management Group in 2010 to work with expert groups such as the CSIRO and GRDC to develop better strategies and tools to help growers control mouse plagues and protect their crops.
This process partially led to CSIRO conducting research into the efficacy of ZnP and the findings being used by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to authorise an emergency use permit to increase the concentration of zinc phosphide active from 25g/kg to 50g/kg for mouse bait registrations.
He said manufacturing companies Animal Control Technologies Australia, Imtrade, PCT, Wilhelm Rural and 4Farmers were now making and distributing the ZnP50 and ZnP25 options, to try to meet necessary demand.
"We've also applied to add another manufacturer to the permit, and extend it, understanding the high demand for the ZnP50 and the need to ensure we can supply this option to growers," Mr Weidemann said.
"Optimising the value of this year's grains harvest, which is going to be one of the biggest on record, is critical to supporting ongoing recovery from drought for our growers and rural communities.
"We recognise and appreciate the NSW government's support in helping to control mouse plagues this year; especially the need to supply the ZnP50 option.
"We welcome the support of other states, and federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, in giving growers the tools and options they need to do the job now, and better pragmatic strategies for the future."
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