Mouse management strategies urged this harvest
Growers advised to take steps at harvest to control mice
Grain growers are being encouraged to undertake mouse control measures this harvest to reduce the potential for future plagues.
Supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), authorities advise that minimising grain losses and spillage during harvest and reducing habitat and food sources over the summer will help to control mouse populations and damage.
Greg Mutze from Biosecurity SA says heavy infestations of mice this year and the expectation of a bumper harvest throughout the southern cropping region could result in population explosions in 2011.
Mr Mutze says that while mouse plagues cannot be stopped by on-farm management, their impact can be lessened by limiting available food sources.
“There are a number of steps growers can take over the coming months to control the build-up of mouse populations,” Mr Mutze said.
“First and foremost, minimising spilled grain in paddocks is the key to limiting mouse numbers and damage in next year’s crop.
“Growers should check that their header settings and harvester speed are correct, and monitor how much grain is left in the paddock after harvest.”
Other measures to adopt as part of a mouse-management strategy include:
- Windrow crops before they are over-ripe and pod shatter or grain loss occurs
- Heavy grazing immediately after harvest to help clean up harvest grain losses (ensure sufficient ground cover is left to minimise erosion potential). Saving stubbles for autumn feed does not work well if mice are around – they will beat the stock to any spilled grain.
- Clean up any concentrated spills of grain around field bins, augers, silo bags and other grain storage
- Remove or reduce cover, including plant material, rubbish and general clutter around buildings, silos and fodder storage as these all provide protection for mice
- Monitor and record signs of mouse activity at harvest for checking closer to seeding time, especially in stubbles and crops with high susceptibility
- Manage weeds over summer to reduce mouse habitat and food sources
Mr Mutze says it is also important that prior to harvest growers remove mouse bait from grain storage and harvest equipment to avoid contamination of grain.
A landholder survey of mouse damage in 2010 is being undertaken by Mr Mutze and he welcomes input from growers to assist in compilation of information relating to the extent and nature of this year’s infestation. He can be contacted via email@example.com or (08) 8303 9505.
The GRDC has continued research on improved mouse control strategies through investments with the Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation and the University of Queensland at Gatton.
Caption: Greg Mutze from Biosecurity SA speaking at a GRDC grower Update.
- GRDC project code: DNR00007
GRDC Project Code
North, South, West, National