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Monitoring mice – the Eyre Peninsula experience

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Video Transcript

Monitoring Mice in your Paddocks

With the monitoring, we usually begin that in March, and few ways of looking at it, one is a simple observation of active holes around the place to get a better idea of the density of mice in zone. We do it sometimes, a hundred meter transect. Another simple way, is to simply flush some water down the holes and find out how many are living in a hole sometimes it can get twelve or fifteen mice out of a hole.

Well, then you know there’s lots of mice. When you going to get one or two, you know the numbers are still relatively low, but again on a hundred meter transect, you can then, if your sort of counting a meter either side, and then you know there are so many mice per hole, you can make it how many mice per hectare you’ve got.

Indicators for Serious Mice Problems

If you’ve got more than five hundred mice a hectare well then you’ve got a problem. Numbers can get up to six or eight thousand hectare. There’s also other indicators, if you see tracking between the holes on the ground. Once I see that sort of tracking, I think the mice levels are getting very high then.

In our experience we underestimate nearly every time how fast the damage will occur, and I think there are some figures around which the mice can take up to 5% of grain per night. Sometimes the damage is very easy to see, you’ll just see where the mice are eating at, taking the plants other times its not quite so straightforward.

Typical Areas Damaged by Mice

We also find we get more damage where we’ve inter row sowed and the straws are standing, and compared to where the wheel tracks are going, the straw’s flat. So, you’re gonna look where your straw’s standing for the damage. Mechanical methods of control need to occur at least four weeks before seeding.

For this chain chops to straw up, puts them flat on the ground. And so, in many instances then it’s harder for the mice to protect themselves from predators. The frequency of them I think has increased as our farming practices have changed. Intensified rotations, now minimal tillage and full stuble retention, probably less livestock in the system.

We have to get better at recognizing when they come, and also get better at the control.

Lock farmer Andrew Polkinghorne discusses his experiences in dealing with mice on his property.

Monitoring mice numbers usually begin in March. Numbers greater than 500 per hectare will create problems in emerging crops. Generally the rate of mice damage is much faster than one predicts. Mice can take up to 5% of seed grain per night.

Damage tends to be greater in standing stubble compared to that laid down either in wheel tracks or through chaining. Intensified rotations, minimum tillage, stubble retention and sheep in farming systems have all contributed to the increased incidence of mice in crops.

 

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