Loss of income due to mice just the beginning
People are being bitten by mice in their sleep, living out of containers and eskies as they deal with rising rodent numbers in their houses while the weather cools.
Central West NSW continues to be ravaged by rising mice numbers. Primary producers are cutting recently planted crops to replant after emerging heads have been eaten.
Loss of farm machinery and grain stores due to damage has been reported throughout regional NSW.
Tracey Jones estimates there are thousands of mice on her Tottenham property.
“We’ve spent about $10,000 so far on baiting but have suffered losses with damage to crops, stored grain and machinery,” Mrs Jones said.
The rodents became a problem for her family about three months ago. Their impact was instant.
Like most farming families, the Jones’ have them through their house, in the walls, ceilings and cupboards.
“They defecate in clothes and linen or die in there resulting in a revolting smell and a need to wash everything or throw it away,” she said.
“People are over it. They’re sick of the smell, noise, damage, filth, dead mice and cleaning plus the harm to our pets and working dogs from baited mice consumption.”
The Jones family initially noticed the rodents in their big open grain sheds. Then in their machinery and shearing sheds.
“They have now started eating yokes in our silo bags and they are in them. They’ve done a lot of damage to infrastructure and machinery, mainly fouling things and chewing wires,” she said.
The plague has caused massive delays in getting crops down. Tracey said they’ve focused on getting grain away before it’s destroyed or damaged. Concern about mouse damage to crops down in the ground and hope for a drop in numbers before sowing led to a planting delay.
“People suffer from mice lice, have maggots in their car roofs and ceilings. Mice surprise people as they drive their cars.”
Tracey Jones, Tottenham
This now means moisture is an issue.
“We sow canola, wheat, barley and oats. We usually put in about 7,000 acres. We also have sheep,” she said.
The state government has committed $150 million to rebates for baiting. Farmers can soon receive a 50% rebate up to $10,000 for zinc phosphide bait.
The Country Women’s Association calls for assistance to deal with the mental health impact of this disastrous event.
Main image: Mice cause machinery fire in Narrabri Shire by chewing wires. IMAGE: Townsville Bulletin
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