31 August 2021

Farmers urged to take action ahead of new mice plague threat

| Sally Hopman
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Prolific breeders, mice can give birth to a litter of 10 babies every 20 days and can fall pregnant again soon after giving birth. Photo: Supplied.

Farmers are being urged to help the New South Wales avert another mouse plague.

Although ACT rural areas and the adjacent regional districts of NSW did not suffer as badly from the mouse plague as western areas of the state, farmers are being urged to get ahead of the game of mice versus crops immediately.

Mouse populations plateaued over winter but with the onset of spring, concerns have been raised the rodent population will explode again and with experts admitting there is no safe way to completely rid rural areas of mice, farmers have been encouraged to take action now to reduce the risk of another infestation.

This year’s plague which experts described as unprecedented, stretched into Victoria, Queensland and across to South Australia with concerns the mice may return this way to infiltrate NSW again once the warmer weather hits and the rodents start to breed again. Prolific breeders, mice can give birth to a litter of up to 10 offspring every 20 days and they can fall pregnant as soon as they have given birth.

In 1993, Australia’s worst mouse plague caused an estimated $96 million damage to crops, equipment and livelihoods and in 2011 another plague caused widespread crop damage and had a significant impact on the mental health of the farming community.

The NSW government is urging farmers to act now by simply reporting what they see.

They are being asked to monitor mice numbers now by counting active burrows as well as using mouse chew cards to help determine a true picture of problem areas.

READ ALSO Urgent action needed as mouse plague heads south

The NSW government is also offering a 50 per cent rebate for the mouse control chemical zinc phosphide to eligible primary producers who have suffered a hit.

Residents, small business owners and primary producers who have purchased traps, repellents or cleaning aids from February 21 to combat the mice plague, may also be eligible for rebates from the government.

Fears are rising that another mice plague could wreak havoc on crops in NSW and adjacent ACT farmland. Photo: File.

Eligible households can apply for rebates of up to $500 while on leased properties, tenants have the first right to claim. Eligible small businesses and primary producers can apply for rebates of up to $1000.

To be eligible for the NSW mouse control rebate, you must be over 18, live or have a business in the Hilltops, Upper Lachlan and Yass Valley local government areas, the Central Tablelands or in the north of the state.

Eligible business owners must have a current ABN, be a sole trader or employ less than 20 people.

Applications can be made online through MyServiceNSW accounts or by calling 137 788.

More information on how to deal with a mice plague and what additional help is available for farmers can be found on the NSW government website

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