Mice on the move in Maranoa
THE Maranoa is on the verge of a mouse plague as grain growers battle to rid their farms of the rodent outbreak.
Recent trapping activity near Roma shows a significant rise of mouse numbers in sorghum crops and stubble and in high protein legume crops.
The rodent invasion is causing headaches for farmers and those storing large amounts of grain.
“We do expect economic damage to crops unless baiting is carried out prior to harvest and winter crop planting,” Grains Research and Development Corporation northern panel chair James Clark said.
The only hope for a decrease in numbers lies in the presence of streptococcal infections in some of the trapped mice, indicating the population is under stress for food resources.
Mr Clark said early-Autumn rains, large stores of high-quality feed and favourable burrowing conditions from cracking soils provided mice the perfect breeding ground.
“All these factors help extend the breeding season beyond the usual October to May period,” he said.
“Knowledge of changes in breeding performance and the size of the over wintering population are important factors when assessing the likelihood of a plague.”