CSIRO mice researcher Steve Henry recently visited the BCG Main Field Day and urged growers to continue monitoring their paddocks as the season progresses.
Mr Henry explained that although mice plagues in southern Australia are quite irregular, Queensland experiences plagues every one to two years. Unfortunately, no one has a clear understanding to what drives these outbreaks, and it is imperative growers remain vigilant.
“No one ever forgets a mouse plague,” continued Mr Henry.
Mice are prolific breeders and can start breeding at six weeks of age, and can produce 500 offspring a year.
Monitoring for mice is occurring at a national scale as part of a GRDC-funded project resulting in Mr Henry visiting many monitoring sites in eastern Australia.
Walpeup is one site that is a capture, mark and re-capture site, which gives Mr Henry an idea of population and reproductive stage.
At other sites, active burrow counts and chew cards are used to assess mice numbers.
Prior to attending the BCG Main Field Day on 13 September, Mr Henry said “In the five years of monitoring at these sites I haven’t seen this level of activity around chew cards in the past. While we are not seeing that much damage to the crop, our chew cards are being hammered.”
Mr Henry’s presentation from the BCG Main Field Day is now available to listen to via the YouTube link below.