Australia’s peak national grain grower advocacy group is urging growers to heed the advice of leading scientific experts when making critical decisions about mouse control management.
Grain Producers Australia (GPA) Southern Director, Andrew Weidemann, represented GPA in a forum where NSW growers heard from scientists and experts from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and NSW Farmers.
Mr Weidemann said while NSW was experiencing the brunt of the mouse plague, grain producers and their regional communities throughout Australia, are seeing higher than normal mice numbers. reinforcing why clear advice is essential to delivering good outcomes.
He said that’s why GPA supported statements from CSIRO Researcher and Mouse Expert, Steve Henry, detailing key messages and advice on mouse control management.
• Go for a walk in the paddock, look for the first signs of damage, and if you are seeing signs of mice be prepared to bait early with the ZnP50 bait.
• If you can’t get ZnP50 use ZnP25 but continue to monitor to ensure that you have achieved a knockdown.
• Baiting early before there is a lot of other food in the system provides mice with the best opportunity to find the bait and get a lethal dose.
• Continue to monitor crops in the lead up to harvest.
• Harvest clean – big yields are often associated with short harvest windows.
• Grain left after harvest sustains mouse populations through the stubble phase and into the autumn when they could cause damage as you sow the next crop.
Mr Weidemann said GPA helped establish the GRDC funded National Mouse Management Group in 2010 to work with expert groups such as the CSIRO to develop better strategies and tools which can help growers control mouse plagues and protect their crops.
He said that process prompted CSIRO to conduct research into the efficacy of ZnP and the findings led to the approval in May this year of an emergency use permit to increase the concentration of zinc phosphide active from 25g/kg to 50g/kg for mouse bait registrations.
Mr Weidemann said the permit resulted from a collaborative effort between GPA, CSIRO and GRDC and includes manufacturing companies ACTA, Imtrade, PCT, Wilhelm Rural and 4Farmers that are now making and distributing the ZnP50 and ZnP25 options, to try to meet necessary demand.
“We’ve also applied to add another manufacturer to the permit, and extend it, understanding the high demand for the ZnP50 and the need to ensure we can supply this option to growers,” he said.
“Optimising the value of this year’s grains harvest, which is going to be one of the biggest on record, is critical to supporting ongoing recovery from drought for our growers and rural communities.
“We recognise and appreciate the NSW Government’s support in helping to control mouse plagues this year; especially the need to supply the ZnP50 option. And we welcome the support of other States, and the Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, in giving growers the tools and options they need to do the job now, and better pragmatic strategies for the future.”