NSW Hit By Plague Of Mice

New South Wales farmers are being warned the mouse plague which has already caused millions of dollars in crop losses could be more devastating come Spring.

A national working group has been formed to prepare for the continuation of the worst mouse plague in living memory.

The group’s chairman, Simon Humphrys, says around 3 million hectares in the southern cropping region were affected in autumn, including at Warren and Parkes.

However Dr Humphrys says mice attacking flowering crops during Spring will do a lot more damage to yields.

“One mouse at sowing time going through or down a row can really only probably get to 10 or 12 maybe 20 grains before it’s satisfied, but if he’s attacking flowers then he has the potential to impact on a lot more than just 20 grains and so one mouse can do a lot more damage in Spring than he can do in Autumn,” he said.

He says the rodents will become more active as the weather warms up within the next six weeks.

“It could be fairly disastrous if farmers aren’t vigilant and watching for mouse damage in early maturing crops, and it’s particularly hard to spot until the damage has been done,” he said.

“Mice are chewing at nodes and that affects the crops capacity to tiller properly and produce as much grain as they would otherwise.”