The Damage Mice Do To Crops
We all know how bad mice are for the home, but what about our outdoor crops? Mice can do just as much damage outdoors as they do indoors, leading to lower yields. So how can you tell if you have an infestation and what can you do about it?
Where to find signs of a mouse infestation?
You can find signs of a mouse infestation if you look closely at your paddock and at your plants. In paddocks, you will find bare patches, chewed plants and mouse holes. In other areas of your crops, you can take a look at the plants themselves, and you will see that the stems may be gnawed, the seeds may be chewed, and the pods may also be chewed and lopped. You will also notice overall poor germination because of the mice chewing leaves and seeds. However, some of these signs may also indicate the presence of insect pests, crown rot, and birds or locusts, so you want to look for mouse holes before you can be sure that mice are involved.
How did the infestation start?
Given a large enough crop area, you will always have mice present in small numbers, but they only start to become an issue when their population increases due to several favorable conditions. For example, if they gain access to high-quality feed, or if you have large crop yields but a poor harvesting efficiency, mice will have plenty of food to sustain a large population. They may also thrive in areas where there are cracking or light soils, which allow them to burrow, or where there is heavy crop residue.
If you identify that you have a large mouse infestation in your crops, there are several control strategies that you can employ. To start, you can use an in-crop baiting system in areas where you’ve noticed the damage, and then employ hygiene recommendations to minimize breeding. These recommendations include minimising harvester grain loss and spills, implementing heavy grazing with sufficient ground cover to minimize erosion, and cleaning up any concentrated grain spills around field bins and other grain storage areas.
Sometimes however, the infestation can be so large that you will need some extra help to get rid of it. We can provide consulting and pest management services in these situations. Contact us today with any questions you may have, or to set up an inspection and pest control appointment.