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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mice returning in their droves

The Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and CSIRO are advising growers and advisers to remain vigilant in light of reports indicating moderate to high mouse activity on the Darling Downs. While mouse numbers are generally low in most areas, regions experiencing moderate to high activity include the Darling Downs, as well as areas in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.

CSIRO mouse researcher Steve Henry emphasized the importance of actively monitoring mouse activity at this time. “Moderate or high mouse numbers are concerning, especially during the seeding of winter crops, as this is when significant economic damage can occur,” Mr Henry stated. “With favourable conditions leading to breeding throughout summer and autumn, mouse numbers are expected to peak in April/May. Growers are advised to monitor multiple paddocks to assess mouse numbers and make informed management decisions in the coming weeks.”

Management recommendations include actively assessing mouse numbers by walking through paddocks and utilizing mouse chew cards and active burrow counts to determine mouse presence and activity. Mouse chew cards can be obtained from GRDC, and growers are encouraged to bait at or immediately after sowing if mice are present to prevent damage to freshly sown crops. It’s important to communicate with bait suppliers early to ensure timely supply.

GRDC pests manager Leigh Nelson stressed the importance of monitoring and reporting, directing growers to the GRDC Mouse Management page for detailed information about management options. “Current mouse populations exhibit patchy activity levels, with moderate to high activity in one paddock but low in the next,” Dr. Nelson explained. “This variability underscores the need for growers to actively monitor and assess the potential risk to their crops. Early detection and management are crucial for minimizing the impact on the upcoming winter crop season.”

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