Baiting mice

Baiting is not a total solution for crop protection, but can assist in minimising potential damage from mice.

An integrated approach—employing a number of control mechanisms across the farm—is the best way to minimise damage, especially in seasons conducive to high mouse populations.

Zinc Phosphide

Zinc phosphide is the currently registered chemical for controlling mice in paddocks, but it cannot be used around buildings, in towns or residential areas.

In NSW, zinc phosphide bait products are not restricted, and can be purchased directly from rural resellers.

Pesticides must be used in accordance with the label or Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permit instructions on an approved pesticide.

How Should I Bait?

Aerial or ground application can be used to spread zinc phosphide bait according to the label instructions. To achieve the best baiting results, CSIRO and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) recommend you:

  • Reduce alternate food sources for mice. Baiting is less effective when alternative feed sources are available and so, where possible, growers should endeavour to clean up grain spills, control weeds and reduce available food (e.g., graze sheep on stubbles)
  • Ideally, mouse bait should be used in dry conditions to achieve maximum ingestion
  • Lay bait when food source in the paddocks is at the lowest level, this will give mice the best chance to find the bait
  • To protect recently sown crops, apply bait at the time of sowing, or within 24 hours. Damage is most severe for about two to three weeks after crop emergence and again around seed-set
  • Coordinate baiting with other farmers to avoid reinvasion. Bait on as broad a scale as possible.

There are a number of different approaches landholders can take when it comes to spreading mouse bait, depending on the equipment they have, including conventional spreaders, 12-volt broadcast and air commodity cart.

The GRDC has produced a five-part video series that provides detailed information on these methods, as well as other practical baiting tips. You can view these videos here.

APVMA emergency permits for mice control

Since mouse numbers started to rise in NSW in late 2020, the APVMA has granted several emergency permits for baits containing zinc phosphide to control mice in a range of cropping situations.

In May 2021, the APVMA granted an emergency permit (PER90799) for use of double dose zinc phosphide on grain, legume, canola, safflower and nut crops as well as pasture.

Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries have produced a factsheet highlighting all the double and standard strength zinc phosphide bait products approved for use by the APVMA.

Download a copy of the Local Land Services and Department of Primary Industries Zinc Phosphide supplier sheet.

Other emergency permits granted by the APVMA include:

  • PER90846, issued 6 April 2021 to NSW DPI for use in fallow situations prior to sowing grain, legume, canola, safflower and nut crops, and use on pasture (zinc phosphide).
  • PER90793, issued 9 April 2021 to Hoyle Trading Trust for use on grain, legume, canola, safflower and nut crops and use on pasture (zinc phosphide).
  • PER91133, issued 26 May 2021 to Animal Control Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd for use on grain crops, legume crops, canola, safflower, nut crops and pasture (zinc phosphide).
  • PER91125, issued 7 June 2021 to Animal Control Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd for use on grain crops, legume crops, canola, safflower, nut crops and pasture (zinc phosphide).
  • PER91205, issued 24 June 2021 to Australian Pork Limited for perimeter baiting outside buildings used for and associated with commercial pig production (zinc phosphide).

It is important for landholders to read the permit to ensure they apply the approved products in a safe manner.

More information

The baiting advice above has been adapted from the GRDC’s Tips and Tactics: Better Mouse Management and Mouse Control website.

If you would like to find out more, you can find a copy of Tips and Tactics here, or find a range of practical materials on the GRDC Mouse Control website.

You can also discuss your situation with your local agronomist, who will be able to provide advice on mouse management.

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