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LONG TERM COLLABORATION DELIVERS MULTIPLE MOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

By GPA Northern Director and Queensland grain producer Brendan Taylor and GPA RD&E Spokesperson, Southern Director and Victorian grain producer Andrew Weidemann.


In May 2021, Grain Producers Australia announced the approval of an APVMA permit which provided Australian grain producers with timely access to a new tool (ZP50), to help them fight back against the scourge of crop destroying mouse plagues.


This new permit was approved after the proper scientific and regulatory assessment was conducted by the APVMA. That being, to ensure human health and the environment are protected.


This then allowed those chemical manufacturers listed on the permit to legally sell and supply this new tool so growers could subsequently protect their crops and reduce the social and economic harm of the mouse plagues occurring in their communities.


This APVMA permit to allow access to ZP50 mouse bait products didn’t suddenly arise unexpectedly out of nowhere three years ago.


It resulted from long-term collaboration between grain producers, scientific experts and other key industry stakeholders, all working together to try to solve common problems.





That being, to prevent mice destroying crops and subsequent losses from producers, across the grains supply chain, and to the national economy.


Collaboration between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, was another vital aspect to delivering these shared outcomes and benefits.


Since 2018, GRDC has invested more than $7.5 million in mouse management RD&E, which has also responded to the increasing mice activity in many key grain-growing regions.


However, a comprehensive mouse RD&E program has in fact been underway to support growers, since GRDC was formed in the early 1990’s.


This permit, or access to ZP50, forms part of an overall program of work driven by the core values of giving growers access to a suite of tools which they can access when needed, to help solve real problems they’re experiencing on-farm.


These resources also include expert advice on mouse monitoring and raising awareness about best practice management in critical areas such as mouse bait applications HERE.


The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions has also been a part of this important collaboration process whilst GPA has represented growers consistently, to advocate for practical solutions and better options to help protect their crops.


Before this GRDC investment, and long before this APVMA permit was announced, GPA and GRDC, along with the South Australian Government, played a critical role establishing the National Mouse Management Group.


Formed in 2010, the NMMG is another key part of the professional collaboration that’s helped to deliver practical tools and support systems or expert advice for growers.


The Group’s members include GPA and our State Farming Group grains members, individual grower representatives, GRDC, CSIRO, state governments, APVMA and GrainGrowers LTD.


The APVMA permit approved in 2021 (Expired Dec 2023) allowed individual commercial companies to manufacturer and supply the higher strength ZP50 mouse bait product to growers.


GPA’s role in this process has been to facilitate this permit, based on making an application to the APVMA which scientifically evaluates the safety and efficacy (effectiveness) of a product to protect Australia's trade and the health and safety of people, animals, and the environment.


As part of this, we’ve also committed to informing growers about this new option and raising awareness, including use of the stewardship training course and reporting portal that was provided in GPA Training, as part of last year’s extended permit to meet the APVMA’s added label conditions.


Expert analysis by GPA suggests the potential economic impact of the improved mouse control options provided by the use of ZP50 products, via the GPA permit, was valued at about $1 billion. This was based on calculations for known product application on wheat crops only, up to May 2022. Without the GPA permit, these ZP50 product options would not have been available, to help growers protect their crops and make bottom line savings.


Now that growers have had the direct and practical experience of using ZP50 in their own businesses, they continue to request access to this product, as a tool in their tool kit. This has been clearly demonstrated in the recent grower survey by Grain Producers SA with strong evidence of ZP50 experience getting the job done and killing mice.


The key points from the survey:


  • 78 per cent of grain producers had crop yields impacted by mice in the past two season

  • 64 per cent of respondents used ZP50 mouse bait under permit in 2023

  • Growers on average rated the double strength mouse bait effectiveness as 9 out of 10

  • 47 per cent found ZP25 to be effective in controlling mouse numbers

  • Growers who use ZP25 rate its effectiveness as 5 out of 10 on average


In fact, one of the core messages is – why hasn’t the APVMA approved the extension of GPA’s permit, so growers can still have access to this new tool, to help them deal with mice numbers that are expanding right now?

GPA is continuing to work with the APVMA to support their decision-making processes, in the hope that this control option can be re-continued in future, given this permit was not extended beyond 2023.


GPA’s role in these processes has been to ensure a pre-competitive focus on the ultimate outcome – supporting the proper application of science and regulatory processes to deliver new tools and technologies that support growers to remain profitable and sustainable.


Our role is not to support individual chemical companies to remain profitable.


Our strategic mission is to ensure Australian grain producers can remain profitable and sustainable.


In fact, if we could go back to 2010, 2018, or 2021, we’d prefer there was no mouse plague at all or any mouse activity – and therefore not one kilogram of bait needing to be sold anywhere – be it ZP25 or ZP50.


That’s up to the scientific process to decide and that’s what we support.


It’s counterintuitive to our industry good roles – and in fact an insult to anyone else involved in these long-term professional collaborations – to suggest anything else.

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