Darling Downs grain growers should be on the look-out for rising numbers of mice, which could potentially threaten winter cereal yields and impact summer crop planting.
Macalister farmer and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern panel member, Rob Taylor, said increasing numbers have been noticed recently, which was an ominous sign with harvest fast approaching.
Mr Taylor said growers should be aware of the 14-day withholding period for zinc phosphide treatments, meaning inspection of crops should happen immediately.
“A number of Darling Downs grain growers are reporting crop damage and we have already baited once here on our farm,” Mr Taylor said.
“The best way for farmers to understand the potential threat of mice is to get out and inspect their crops, rather than solely relying on bait cards, and bait as soon as threshold levels are reached.”
Mice start breeding as crops start to mature, and as long as grain is available mice will continue to breed. And coming into the summer sowing periods, new plantings will be most vulnerable during the first two to three weeks after seeding.
Some tell-tale signs that mice are on the move are burrows and holes around the farm; mouse droppings on the soil and plants; seeds being dug up and plants being gnawed; and more birds of prey than normal.
Crop hygiene and management can help reduce mice numbers but baiting is the only in-crop control.
Fact sheets from the GRDC are available to assist in planning a monitoring and response strategy – visit www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-MouseControl.
GRDC Northern Panel Member, Macalister, Qld
0427 622 203
Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
07 4927 0805
GRDC Project Code
North, South, West, National