The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is urging Darling Downs grain growers to closely monitor mice numbers following reports of burgeoning activity in sorghum crops.
The warning comes after paddock walks in the Macalister district late last week revealed higher than expected numbers in maturing and sprayed out sorghum crops as well as along roadside verges, prompting some growers to begin applying zinc phosphide bait.
Growers in the Jimbour and Warra areas of the western Darling Downs are reporting similar levels of mouse activity in sorghum.
Paddock management in the lead up to the winter cropping season is among the topics being discussed at this week’s GRDC Grains Research Updates at Goondiwindi and Talwood.
Rodent biologist Julianne Farrell recommends that growers begin checking mouse activity in paddocks, particularly after harvest and prior to sowing winter crops.
“If activity remains high, zinc phosphide baiting should be considered just prior to winter crop sowing,” Ms Farrell said.
“At present the higher levels of mouse activity are confined to a small area, but with continuing warm weather and readily available food sources, that area could easily expand further on the Downs causing problems with winter crop sowing.”
The mouse activity near Macalister, Jimbour and Warra contrasts with monitoring results from areas to the east of Dalby and in Central Queensland.
Recent mouse monitoring on the Darling Downs transect between Cecil Plains and Mt Tyson has shown that low levels of mice are present and the Darling Downs Plague Prediction model indicates that the expected population density index for March and May is low, according to Ms Farrell.
“However, the long-term prediction for summer 2015/2016 returns a High result so at this stage, there is potential for crop damage from spring onwards,” she said.
“This is a guide only as the severity of winter climatic conditions may modify the rate of population decline, while rainfall patterns will affect the rate of recovery of the population during spring and summer.
“Mouse monitoring in the Dawson and Callide Valleys in central Queensland also indicate that mice will not be a problem this year.”
Caption: Rodent biologist Julianne Farrell recommends that growers begin checking mouse activity in paddocks, particularly after harvest and prior to sowing winter crops.
Julianne Farrell, Farrell Consulting
0411 257 831
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
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