Growers encouraged to assess mouse numbers before sowing

image of active mouse hole
CSIRO researcher Steve Henry says mouse outbreaks can be localised between farms, and even within farms, and heavy crop stubbles could hide mouse activity. Photo by GRDC.

Mr Henry said that if the first bait application was at sowing time, growers should monitor mouse numbers following seeding and, if rebaiting was required, wait six weeks after the first application to overcome bait aversion by mice.

He stressed the importance of regular monitoring as mouse populations could increase or decrease rapidly depending on conditions and result in crop damage throughout the growing season.

“It can be difficult to correlate mouse numbers prior to seeding with crop damage, but once mouse numbers are very high it is very difficult to reduce damage to crops and control strategies can be costly,” Mr Henry said.

He said anecdotal reports suggested mice could be more damaging to freshly sown canola crops than cereal crops, as feeding by mice was more likely to kill the young canola plants.

“It can be advisable to graze livestock in areas where there are high mouse numbers to reduce mouse food sources in the lead up to seeding, particularly where canola crops will be sown into cereal stubbles,” Mr Henry said.

Year-round paddock and farm hygiene practices are key to minimising the availability of quality food to mice.

Mouse management strategies and advice are outlined in the GRDC GrowNotes™ Better Mouse Management Tip and Tactics fact sheet.

Other resources are available on the GRDC Mouse Control hub on the GRDC website.

In response to the increasing prevalence of mice in many key grain growing regions of Australia, the GRDC last year injected a further $4.1 million into mouse control research, development and extension (RD&E) initiatives.

Current research outcomes from GRDC mouse investments, including bait substrate trials, are available in a GRDC Grains Research Update Paper

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