CROPPING

Mouse roadshow tours in WA

WESTERN Australian growers in the state’s mouse-troubled regions were visited by CSIRO rodent management scientists last week.

Staff writer
 WA growers heard from mouse control experts last week. Picture courtesy CSIRO.

WA growers heard from mouse control experts last week. Picture courtesy CSIRO.

The ‘Mouse Roadshows' - part of a Grains Research and Deveoplment (GRDC) investment - travelled to 21 locations in WA's mid-west and great southern across four days relaying information ahead of anticipated mouse control issues throughout 2022.

Leading rodent management scientist, Steve Henry, and biosecurity ecologist, Dr Wendy Ruscoe, delivered workshops in collaboration with local industry partners and grower groups, focusing on awareness, monitoring and practical information for on-farm management.

Henry said it was crucial that mouse activity in the Geraldton, Albany and Esperance port zones in WA was monitored over the coming months to ensure growers and local bait suppliers are prepared for potential outbreaks.

"Mice start breeding at six weeks old and have litters of six to 10 pups every 19 to 21 days. Breeding starts in spring and can continue through to late autumn. If conditions are favourable, the rate of increase is dramatic," Henry said.

"High numbers of mice cause crop damage, loss of livestock feed, contamination of stored grain and spread disease.

"The big question I like to ask farmers is, do you know what's happening in your paddocks, particularly in big stubbles? Any paddocks that have big head loss, either before or after the header has gone through, are the paddocks that have the most mice in them."

At this time of the year, when there's lots of food around, active burrows are the best way to monitor mouse populations.

"Get out of the ute and walk through your paddock to calculate the number of burrows per hectare. If you've got more than 100 burrows per hectare you need to be vigilant, keep monitoring and be prepared to bait when you sow the crop," Henry concluded.

Group discussions from growers focused on issues including managing mice at seeding, baiting efficiency and economic return, burning stubble and soil amelioration and their impact on mouse numbers, and aerial baiting.

For further information visit https://bit.ly/3EfpXo8 or the GRDC website.

 

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