Mice are being noticed in larger numbers in the north-west of New South Wales, and farmers are being urged to keep their eyes peeled with a bumper winter crop providing good tucker.
- Agronomists are seeing mice start to move back into north-west New South Wales
- With warm, dry conditions and plenty of food, the conditions are ripe for numbers to explode
- Farmers are being urged not to become complacent and to keep checking their crops
Earlier this year, flooding helped reduce plague numbers in some parts of the North West, including Moree.
However, with spring warming up and winter crops providing plenty of food, local agronomists are starting to see movement again.
Moree B&W Rural agronomist Casey Budd has noticed more mice in the last 10 days.
“We’ve been seeing them start to move a bit out west for the last couple of weeks, and we’ve been baiting out there, but they’re starting to come further east now.”
With the dry weather seeing the mice start to appear, Ms Budd has already seen damage in some of her client’s crops.
“In cereals, they are starting to go for the stem, so you’ll see it damage down very low in the canopy. They’re not necessarily going for grain in the head,” she said.
“In canola, they are starting to eat the seeds, so it’s very challenging.”
The CSIRO and the Grain and Research Development Corporation have warned farmers and communities that they expect to see numbers explode again.
Ms Budd said she was very concerned with what she had already seen.
“We are heading into the perfect storm. There is a lot of food. When we’re baiting, there is so much food in the paddock it’s (bait) not necessarily attractive.”
Don’t be complacent
While some growers have already seen some mice and damage, others have not yet been impacted.
Ms Budd said those who had not yet seen mice should be prepared and check their paddocks regularly.
“The key point I would make is don’t be complacent. Make sure you’re out checking your crops,” she said.
“We have certainly had cases where 10 days ago we would look at the crop and say, ‘There are no mice here.’ You’re flat out finding any damage or any activity.
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