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How to stop the mice as they run riot in haystacks

BALE PROTECTION: Feed Central identifies baiting as the most common way to control a mouse plague.
BALE PROTECTION: Feed Central identifies baiting as the most common way to control a mouse plague.

WET and cold weather can cause mice to run riot in hay stacks, chewing through valuable products and profits.

In response to a mouse plague that is threatening areas of rural Australia, Feed Central has released an information sheet to assist farmers in making farms mouse-proof.

Feed Central managing director Tim Ford said the guide was designed to overcome a shortage of information on the subject for producers.

"Many regions are now facing significant mice pressure but sound management can reduce the risk," Mr Ford said.

Last year Feed Central successfully fought a mice plague in its own sheds.

"We did lose product but it was not the disaster it could have been," Mr Ford said.

"To begin 'the fight' we did a lot of research and to help clients in the same situation we compiled a brief fact sheet on mice control."

Mr Ford said a mouse plague can have a number of negative effects including loss of product, chemical contamination and potential risks to human health.

Clifton hay contractor AlanSutton knows the pain ofa mouse plague all too wellbut thankfully has nothadto tackle one yet this year.

"Little round bales are the worst," he said.

"Mice chew the little bales up a bit and the string on the big square bales.

"When there's a plague on they move in hundreds, thousands.

"If you don't clean them up they can do a lot of damage on you.

"I try to stay on top of it right through the season."

Mr Sutton said he usually uses bait to keep the pests under control.

"Last year we had a plague and went through buckets of the stuff," he said.

"They cost a fortune when you have that sort of problem."

Costing between $180-$200 per 20L bucket, the amount of bait consumed is a clear indication of how significant the plague is, Mr Sutton said.

"When you put the mice bait out and it's gone overnight," he said.

"Otherwise it sits there for months and months."

The guide put out by Feed Central identified baiting as the most common control option, encouraging farmers to bait assertively.

It suggests checking baiting stations every 24-48 hours and placing them close to or against walls.

"Baiting is worthwhile, even where there is a large amount of feed, because mice like a variety of feed sources," MrFord said.

"They don't want to eat hay and grain all the time.

"It can be costly so it is worth spending the time and effort in getting it right."

Fumigation and natural control measures are also addressed.

To view the full Feed Central mouse control guide visit www.feedcentral.com.au.

Topics:  pest rural


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