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?
To achieve the best baiting results, CSIRO and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) recommend you:
- Actively monitor paddocks to get an accurate idea of mice numbers
- Remove as much residual food as possible
- Bait six weeks out from sowing if pressure is excessive. This will allow enough time to overcome sub-lethal doses/aversion
- If mice are present at sowing, bait off the back of the planter to prevent damage to the freshly sown crop.
- Baiting at sowing is most effective if no other food sources are available.
- If you are going to bait, contact your bait supplier to ensure product is available when needed.
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.
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.
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.