Mice baiting on the Yorke Peninsula – A Farmers Perspective

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Video Transcript

I just get it out in the paddocks probably in about March and just have a good look around and really just look for activity in the warrens and pretty quickly you will judge the amount of numbers out there and we’re proactive about control. We just get out there and bait it. We just can’t afford for those numbers to blow out.

Inspecting Paddocks to Detect Mice Numbers

And often we find mice breed very quickly. So if I’m seeing small ones around in March, that’s really telling me that they’re ready to breed, so we’ll just get out there and bait. I have concerns with the high cost of the bait that basically all we’re doing is just reducing the number till we can establish a crop, and harvest a crop, but we’re not actually wiping them out.

Reducing Costs by On-Farm Bait Mixing

And I think if we can get to on farm mixing, we can actually get the cost of the product down so we can actually bait at the rates that required to actually wipe mice out. Our cropping program’s about fifty-two-hundred hectares. In 2010, we baited our whole crop program, immediately after sowing.

And then basically, we just monitored from there on in and just applied as we needed it. Some paddocks got another application, some paddocks got another two applications. In 2011 That program is fifty-two hundred hectares. We’ve basically adopted the same strategy. We baited at seeding. and then we continue to bait it as we saw numbers.

We also had bought it in the spring of 2011. I didn’t actually think that was very effective. We baited about three-thousand hectares in the spring. So, a total bill for mouse bait in 2011 was probably in the order of $80,000 to $100,000. This year we adopted a slightly different approach where we were seeing a lot of small mice in the paddocks earlier on.

So we actually baited three-thousand hectares of our program in March, just with the aim to try and kill them before the numbers got too high. Now, just during seeding and after seeding, what we’re really just monitoring paddocks. We’ve baited another 300 hectares for a second time, but it’s given us pretty good control and we didn’t have the extra work load of baiting during seeding.

Realising Lower Costs for Mice Control

In two 2010 we paid between $10 & $12  a kilo for zinc phosphide mouse bait. Last year, in 2011, it started around that $10 , it probably got down as low as $9 dollars a kilo, and then we were really fortunate that later in the year, the APVMA approved a permit for bite mixing stations which lowered the cost considerably down to about a $1 a kilo.

That made a huge difference to basically our whole attitude on mice control we were then able to bait really when we wanted to and when we were seeing numbers. The bait mixing stations were fantastic, but as professional farmers, we really have all the tools available to mix our own zinc phosphide on farm.

Those bait mixing stations just saved us such a lot of money and it really just gave us the tools that we need to control mice properly.

Ben Wundersitz discusses mice baiting strategies in his farming operation on the Yorke Peninsula.

Monitoring for mice activity begins in March. It pays to be pro active in controlling mice as numbers can build quickly. Current baiting strategies are only reducing mice numbers to the point where crop damage is minimize but background numbers survive.

The preferred option would be to control the whole mice population. Bait mixing stations have significantly reduced the cost of mice control making strategic control measures more affordable.

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