Controlling Mice. The Question of Re-sowing.
Andrew Polkinghorne discusses his experiences in controlling mice on his Lock property.
Re-sowing crops is something that farmers are reluctant to do. Control measures should have been implemented well before this amount of damage occurs. Cereals should not be re-sown unless plants number fall below 30 per square meter. Mice tend to be less damaging in emerging canola compered to cereals but can be more difficult to control early in the season. Mice will nip buds and pods off canola in the spring causing significant damage. Damage in cereals tends to be less in the spring.
Re-sowing is something that we’re very reluctant to do, and one would hope that we’ve actually had control measures long before that occurs. Most instances, we’re pretty reluctant to release those in something like canola. Cereal, again, plant population has to be very low, probably below thirty, yeah probably below thirty plants a square meter before we would really consider lots of re-sowing.
Different Crops Bring Out Different Mouse Behaviour
In crops like canola, that the behavior of mice are little bit different. They probably tend not to do quite so much damage as the crop is emerging, compared with cereals. But they’ll continue to survive and graze the canola, and eventually end up with large bare areas around the holes. The mice also seem not to take the bait quite so readily in canola, and yeah certainly in that experience, we’ve found that we’ve had to bait three and I think on one occasion four times to get sufficient control.
Small Numbers of Mice Can Cause a Lot of Damage
The other thing about mice and canola is that it actually takes very few mice to do a lot of damage. They’re hard to get rid of early in the season, and then as the canola runs up to flower, they’ll nip the buds off the canola and also once they start the pod, they’ll meet the pods off the canola.
In wheat, and other cereals we haven’t found them as damaging in the spring. All that damages tended to occur at sowing. We’ve finally had to bait cereals in the spring. I think on two occasions, whereas the canola we’ve nearly always had to bait in the spring. If there are still mass populations, the damage occurs when the plant is running up the head or just in the head, and then the mice will take out the node in the stem and at that particular stage, they can do a lot of damage, because they can eat a lot of nodes per night.
Later on, once the grain forms in the head, the rate of damage appears to slow.