Mouse bait sales soar as farmers brace for rodent boom

POSTED 27th March 2018 - Source: ABC NEWS

For those who struggle to deal with the odd mouse lurking around the house, spare a thought for broadacre farmers across Australia.

With forecasts of a second bumper breeding year for mice in cropping areas of Australia, South Australian farmers have been loading up on bait to limit potential crop damage.

Licensed bait manufacturer, Scott Hoyle, said demand for bait was "far exceeding last year".

"At this stage we have plenty of product on hand, but we are certainly manufacturing as hard as we can go at the moment," Mr Hoyle said.

"As the weather is cooling off we are certainly starting to see them move into the sheds now, but there is a lot of activity in the paddock."

Last year saw an explosion of the animal in cropping regions around the country, with one bait retailer citing an increase in sales of around 400 per cent in some growing areas.

Mr Hoyle said farmers were buying up bait to avoid the damage experienced in the previous season.

"There were plenty of people who did not have bait and really needed it, and as such, suffered significant crop damage just because they could not get bait," he said.

"I think they are probably being a bit more proactive in putting bait in stock."

Managing mouse damage

The increasing concern from growers has prompted the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) to launch an online information session on tips to combat mice numbers.

Pests manager with the GRDC, Leigh Nelson, said the webinar was a response to calls from broadacre circles about managing mouse damage.

"There definitely is concern amongst growers because of the numbers they are seeing," Dr Nelson said.

"We are encouraging growers to monitor their individual paddocks using the chew card system and actually getting out of their utes and going for walks."

"We are also seeing grain left on the ground through a good season last year … that have led to alternative food sources being available for mice."