With mouse populations at high to moderate levels for this time of the year in some cropping regions of South Australia and Victoria, grain growers are being urged to remain vigilant and take measures during and after harvest to eliminate food sources over summer to reduce the risk of an outbreak in autumn next year.
Recent strong winds and hail in some parts of the southern cropping region have knocked grain to the ground and combined with any grain spilled at harvest will provide a ready food source to maintain mouse populations through summer.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s mouse monitoring program has indicated high numbers in Victoria, although baiting has appeared to be effective.
In South Australia, CSIRO researcher Steve Henry said mouse abundance was moderate on both Eyre and Yorke peninsulas and throughout the Mallee.
“Mouse numbers have declined on the northern Adelaide Plains to low levels, although there has been reports of damage to canola pods and maturing wheat.”
Mice have been a considerable issue for many growers this year and Mr Henry said breeding started again in early spring in cropping regions across both states and he expected numbers to increase through summer and into autumn.
Reducing the amount of food available to mice through the summer will be critical in containing numbers over the coming months.