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GPA, CSIRO and GRDC Collaborate to Control Mouse Plagues

Australia’s peak national grain grower advocacy group has collaborated with CSIRO, Australia’s

national science agency, and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, to deliver tougher

control measures that will help fight exploding mouse populations and protect crops.

Grain Producers Australia Chair, Andrew Weidemann, welcomed the new outcome and its positive

impact on farm productivity and business incomes.

“Mouse plagues are causing significant social, economic and environmental damage in farming

communities, especially on the East Coast, but can now be managed more effectively through a new

permit issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority,” he said.

“A study was conducted after the nation’s worst-ever mouse plague in 1993, which caused an

estimated equivalent value today of $100 million worth of damage, and calculated the cost of mice

damage to the grains industry at $22 million to $44 million per year.

“GPA’s analysis also estimates mouse damage to crops, stored feed, buildings and equipment could

potentially exceed $200 million to $300 million today along with crop losses of up to 30 per cent, if

left uncontrolled. These losses also hurt rural communities and economies.

“However, the APVMA permit, based on new CSIRO research funded by GRDC, will expand effective

options for producers experiencing anti-feeding behaviour in plague mouse populations throughout

Australia, by doubling the potency of current zinc phosphide mouse bait registrations.”

CSIRO researcher, Steve Henry, led the study and said the lab findings showed the bait prepared at

this new mixing rate was lethal in all mice, while the previous bait mixing rates was only lethal in 50

per cent of mice.

“It is critical that every grain of bait represents a lethal dose. Our lab research has shown that mice

rapidly develop aversion to the bait, meaning that if they do not consume a lethal dose from one

grain of bait, they will not consumer any more toxic grain,” Mr Henry said.

Mr Weidemann said delivering a more effective management tool for growers on-farm had resulted

from extensive collaborative work between GPA, CSIRO, GRDC and also the Centre for Invasive

Species Solutions (CISS).

He said GPA applied for the APVMA emergency use permit based on the research outcomes.

Farm chemical manufacturing companies ACTA, Imtrade, PCT, Wilhelm Rural and 4Farmers also

supported the permit application and will now begin manufacturing product and distribution to


Mr Weidemann said GPA’s work to help establish the National Mouse Management Group in 2010

was another key part of the collaborative success story to back Australian grain producers who

contribute between $9 billion and $12 billion to the national economy each year.

“GRDC has invested an additional $4.1 million since 2018 into mouse control research, development

and extension initiatives in response to the increasing prevalence of mice in many key grain-growing

regions of Australia and this permit is a direct result of that work,” he said.

“These are the sorts of results growers need and want from this investment because it has a positive

impact on our bottom lines and makes a real difference.”

The new permit increases the concentration of zinc phosphide active from 25 g/kg to 50 g/kg of

mouse bait.

Studies conducted by CISS and funded by the GRDC, showed there was no improved mouse control

benefit from only increasing the current registered formulation of mouse bait rate per hectare, at

the existing 25 g zinc phosphide/kg grain mouse bait, due largely to the anti-feeding behaviours.

To address what is described as a mouse efficacy sensitivity shift resulting from this anti-feeding

behaviour, the only effective solution found through research is to increase the zinc phosphide bait

concentration per kg of bait to ensure mouse efficacy on the first bait feed.


Further Information

GPA Chair Andrew Weidemann: 0428 504 544


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