Mice southern grain growers advised to remain vigilant
Grain growers in Victoria and South Australia are encouraged to monitor mouse populations and activity before, during and after sowing of this year’s winter crops.
Mouse numbers are moderate to high on Yorke Peninsula in SA where active burrows are abundant and obvious.
Recent monitoring across other regions of the grain belt indicated that mouse numbers were generally low, including at benchmark sites on the Adelaide Plains and Eyre Peninsula in SA, as well as across the Mallee and Wimmera in Victoria.
CSIRO researcher Steve Henry, who has been surveying mouse activity for a Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded project, says although mouse abundance is generally low, there are regions where damage is likely. Mr Henry says mice are still breeding so activity needs to be monitored regularly.
“Where winter crops are still being sown, some damage might occur,” Mr Henry said. “If growers are concerned about the risk of damage, they should bait at sowing rather than two or three days later when the damage has already occurred.”
The project can’t monitor the full extent of mouse activity so Mr Henry encourages growers and advisers to report and map mouse presence, absence and level of activity using MouseAlert (www.mousealert.org.au) so others can see the scale and extent of localised mouse activity. MouseAlert also provides access to fact sheets about mouse control and forecasts of the likelihood for future high levels of mouse activity in each grain-growing region.
“We need more producers using MouseAlert so that the project can deliver more accurate forecasts of regional changes in mouse numbers,” Mr Henry said.
The GRDC has extended its funding of the monitoring project – a collaboration with CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre – for another 18 months.
For information about monitoring mouse activity, contact Steve Henry from CSIRO on 0428 633844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Observations can also be directed to Mr Henry via Twitter, @MouseAlert. Information about mouse control is available via the MouseAlert website, www.mousealert.org.au, or the GRDC Fact Sheet on mouse control.
Steve Henry, CSIRO
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
Caption: CSIRO researcher Steve Henry is encouraging growers to monitor mouse populations and activity and to record and share their observations. Photo: Alice Kenney