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 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.
The baiting advice above has been adapted from the GRDC’s Tips and Tactics: Better Mouse Management and Mouse Control website.
You can also discuss your situation with your local agronomist, who will be able to provide advice on mouse management.