We are in the grips of the worst mouse plague since 1993, as many parts of regional Australia and in particular on our doorsteps in New South Wales are inundated with mice populations in excess of 500 per hectare. With warmer Spring weather ahead and the reality of another wave of mice, ChemCert has stepped in and customised their Chemical User Courses with safe mouse control and best practice techniques to help farmers to ensure that farm safety still remains a key aspect of their everyday activities.
As tales heighten of crops being eaten as soon as they sprout, farmers being financially burdened due to replanting their crops again and people sleeping in their cars to avoid mice in the house, the dilemma of a national shortage of rodenticides and mouse control resources has unfolded.
A shortage of rodenticides is not only a huge concern for already distressed farmers but a very serious issue. The shortage has led to people mixing their own baits out of desperation and in particular creating homemade brews using various insecticides which is illegal and places the user, those around them, animals, vegetation and waterways in danger.
In a move to stop these illegal and potentially life threatening actions, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) have allowed a regional bait mixing station to be set up at Walbundrie near Wagga Wagga, where farmers can bring their own grain to be coated with the registered poison, zinc phosphide.
The Chairman of ChemCert, Andrew Forrest said “For those who have access to rodenticides they must be aware that they are a Schedule 7 ‘Dangerous Poison’ and it is important to have ChemCert Training to understand how to store and handle them correctly.”
In light of this recent plague, ChemCert Courses in the affected areas are being run by Trainers who are farmers themselves and are facing the plague on a daily basis. ChemCert Trainers will focus on safe use of rodenticides such as MouseOff® and the best practice from Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The ChemCert course provides participants with a face to face forum to discuss on farm issues with others in their area, allowing them to learn about other forms of baiting and control techniques.
Andrew Forrest said “Farmers should not use any homemade baits, instead they should contact their local supplier for rodenticides or enquire about new products such as MouseOff Econobait®, or ask about regional baiting stations. To help reduce the mouse numbers keep all areas around paddocks and storage sheds clear as spilt grain from the previous year’s harvest, grain is a high value food source for mice within paddocks and storage areas.”