Monitoring during autumn has shown that mouse numbers have remained low in many grain-growing regions across the country, but the pests have potential to cause damage at seeding in South Australia and Queensland (Figure 1).
The GRDC-funded study has forecast high levels of mouse pressure at sowing on SA’s Eyre and Yorke peninsulas and the Northern Adelaide Plains, prompting many growers to bait with zinc phosphide.
Modelling also forecasts high mouse numbers on Queensland’s central Darling Downs. While mouse populations are mostly low in north-west Victoria, mouse densities may reach moderate to high levels in small areas. In response to these predictions, growers are urged to be vigilant in their approach to mouse monitoring to help determine the need for baiting.
Growers in SA and Queensland are encouraged to coordinate baiting with farm neighbours to help reduce the risk of mice re-invading paddocks.
Reports of low mouse populations in Western Australia and New South Wales mean there is a low risk of mouse damage at seeding in these states.
The ongoing research by Landcare Research (New Zealand), CSIRO and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC) is now set to release a smartphone ‘MouseAlert’ app to help growers report on-farm mouse numbers and gauge levels of pest activity.
Figure 1 Current monitoring of mouse populations in Victoria and SA (left) and Queensland (right) compared to outbreaks in the past.
Dr Peter Brown, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences,
02 6246 4086,
Dr Roger Pech, Landcare Research,
Attention to detail widens profit margins
Digital mouse monitor
North, South, West