AUSTRALIAN farmers will have access to double strength mouse bait as they try to bring the current horror plague under control.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority have issued a permit for the use of bait with 50 milligrams a kilogram of zinc phosphide, up from previous levels of 25mg/kg.
Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said this would help improve the kill rate.
"Research has shown that at 25mg/kg the mouse can often receive a sublethal dose of zinc phosphide, which then causes aversions to the bait which is not what you want," Mr Weidemann said.
He welcomed the news of the permit, which has come after collaboration between GPA, CSIRO, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions and the Grains Research and Development Corporation to find methods to deliver better mouse control to growers.
"Mouse plagues are causing significant social, economic and environmental damage," he said.
"A study conducted after the nation's worst-ever mouse plague in 1993, which caused an estimated equivalent value today of $100 million worth of damage, and calculated the cost of mice damage to
the grains industry at $22 million to $44 million per year.
He warned there was scope for even higher damage than '93 this year.
"GPA's analysis also estimates mouse damage to crops, stored feed, buildings and equipment could potentially exceed $200 million to $300 million today along with crop losses of up to 30 per cent, if left uncontrolled," he said.
"However, the APVMA permit based on new CSIRO research funded by GRDC will expand effective options for producers experiencing anti-feeding behaviour in plague mouse populations."
CSIRO researcher, Steve Henry, who led the study said the lab findings showed the bait prepared at this new mixing rate was lethal in all mice while the previous bait mixing rates was only lethal in 50pc.
"It is critical that every grain of bait represents a lethal dose," Mr Henry said.
"Our lab research has shown that mice rapidly develop aversion to the bait, meaning that if they do not consume a lethal dose from one
grain of bait, they will not consumer any more toxic grain," Mr Henry said.
CISS studies showed doubling the strength of the bait rather than doubling application rates was far more effective, mainly due to the anti-feeding behaviour once a mouse has consumed a sub-lethal dose of the bait.
GPA applied to the APVMA for the emergency permit for the double-strength bait.
And Mr Weidemann said he was hopeful the bait would be available to growers quickly.
Farm chemical manufacturing companies ACTA, Imtrade, PCT, Wilhelm Rural and 4Farmers have also supported the permit application and will now begin manufacturing product and distribution to growers.
The story Double strength mouse bait to bolster eradication efforts first appeared on Farm Online.