Managing mice coming up to planting
Overrun with mice? Elders agronomist Emily Young has some simple tips for growers as they plant winter crops with high mice populations.
Check all stubble paddocks going into winter crops regularly. Using mouse cards soaked in oil and counting active burrows in a 100 metre transect are reliable methods of estimating numbers. This should be done in a few locations across the paddock and in all paddocks to be planted. You can use the MouseAlert website to report sightings and update local data.
Did you know?
- 1 burrow can house 1 to 4 mice, and up to 40 mice.
- Mice require 66 grains per day.
- 1 kilogram of grain ≈ 330 mouse days of food.
- 1 kilogram of bait per hectare = 3 grains per square metre
Minimise food sources
Mice populations have built up due to the large food resources left over from the bumper cereal crops last year. There continues to be a large amount of grain in fallowed paddocks, providing food and shelter. The good news is that the mice are reducing the food available due to their high numbers. As they reduce their own food sources, spraying out germinations and grazing sheep (if available) on fallow paddocks can continue to deplete resources, ensuring baiting will be most effective at planting.
Prepare to bait
Broadscale zinc phosphide* treated grain is an effective method of baiting, at the label rate of 1 kilogram per hectare. Although this doesn’t seem like much, this is equivalent to 1.5 lethal doses per square metre. Timing this application post planting can heavily influence the amount of crop seed damaged. Ideally, bait should be spread behind the planter as any residual food will be covered and it will be easily accessible. If that’s not possible, baiting within 24 hours of planting will still effectively reduce the damage risk from high mice populations.
Active monitoring and management will give your crop the best chance to get up and established despite high mice populations.
*Note: Please read and follow the product advice
For more information contact your local Elders branch