Of mice and men come spring

Grain growers are being warned to be vigilant in Spring 2017 with potential threats to crops from mice.

Wimmera and Southern Mallee grain growers and advisers have the chance to learn about the impact of high mouse numbers on crops in spring in a series of forums in early August 2017.

Agriculture Victoria Land Management Extension Officer Felicity Pritchard said Autumn 2017 had seen large numbers of mice in some areas.

“We are running these forums to help growers learn how to monitor and manage mouse populations in established crops,” Ms Pritchard said.

“Growers and advisers in the Wimmera and Southern Mallee are reporting continued mouse activity through Winter 2017.

“These forums will help growers be on the front foot.

“They will help growers prepare for the possibility of moderate to high mouse activity in Spring 2017.”

The keynote speaker at the forums will be Professor Linton Staples from Animal Control Technologies, who will talk about a potential increase in breeding activity when the weather warms up and crops begin to mature.

Ms Pritchard said moderate mouse numbers could still cause significant damage to crops in spring, depending on the growth stage of the crop.

“Mice can reduce crop yields as they chew growing stems and nodes,” she said.

“They can drop seed heads by chewing through the top node at flowering and also damage maturing heads and pods.

“Crop damage in spring can be insidious and may not be noticed without monitoring and the key to preventing crop damage is recognising and treating infestations early.”

Farmers are encouraged to record their observations on mouse populations on MouseAlert app so the CSIRO can track trends in mouse populations.

A series of events is being held, including Hopetoun on 7 August 2017, Taylor’s Lake (near Horsham) on 8 August 2017, and Kaniva and Kalkee on 9 August 2017.

More information on the mouse forums is available from Heather Drendel on 03 5083 2205 or Felicity Pritchard on 0429 884 207.

Source: Agriculture Victoria