Rodents Running Riot

You’ve probably seen the news about the current rodent situation facing our neighbours in the East.

Southern Queensland, New South Wales, Northwestern Victoria and even some parts of southern Western Australia are currently inundated with mice. These pests are causing significant damage to maturing summer crops and will likely cause damage at sowing for winter crops.

We’ve all dealt with these pests who manage to get into the house now and then, but numbers that are moderate to high, as they are currently in the above areas, can be a call for major concern especially for farmers.

While we all love their Aussie native cousins, these introduced pests can cause significant economic and environmental damage. These little omnivores aren’t just terrorizing our crops, homes and foods, though; they can transmit diseases too: for example, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection and gastrointestinal infections such as salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and cryptosporidiosis. Many of the diseases that these rodents can carry are harmful to both humans and livestock.

Although we are not in an area where mouse numbers are moderate to high, it is still essential that we monitor, record and report the prevalence of mice before they become a major issue. Growers should actively monitor mouse activity (mouse chew cards or active burrow counts are useful at this time of year). There is always a chance of isolated patches of higher mouse activity. Please report and map mouse activity using MouseAlert (www.mousealert.org.au) so other growers can see what mouse activity is occurring in their neighbouring localities.

Growers should remain vigilant and act accordingly if mouse abundance is of concern. Because of patchy activity between paddocks, growers are advised to monitor across multiple paddocks. Focus on paddocks that sustained grain loss last year (please report on MouseAlert www.mousealert.org.au).

For more information, visit these websites. https://www.feralscan.org.au/docs/2021/Mouse%20Monitoring%20Update%2024%20Mar%202021.pdf

https://www.feralscan.org.au/mousealert/

Annabelle Garratt – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator

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