Regional towns and rural farming communities are still in the middle of a ceaseless battle against mice. “Scurry up with mouse support” begs NSW Farmers Association.
Attempts to recover from the recent drought have been made even more difficult in the wake of the mouse plague. NSW Farmers Grains Committee chair Matthew Madden said hundreds of communities are affected, with grain growers suffering primarily.
“Mouse control is a serious extra cost for grain growers. In a modest 1,000ha cropping area, it costs around $17,000 dollars for one baiting run before the crop is even planted. In many areas, farmers are already on their third or fourth baiting run with costs only adding up and no end in sight," said Mr Madden.
Although many are hoping winter will help with reducing the numbers, the CSIRO and Grains Research and Development Corporation are urging farmers to stay vigilant and not to rely on the weather to end the plague.
Aside from crop deterioration, the mouse plague is posing a human and animal health risk.
Health officials have warned of a flu-like disease named leptospirosis which is spread from animals to humans. Hunter New England Health has warned locals to take precautions against leptospirosis, as mice run wild through homes, chewing through mattresses, and crawling over people’s faces as they sleep.
Mr Madden said the NSW Government needs to provide meaningful financial support for baiting.
With people from regional and rural areas having faced drought, bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and now a relentless mouse plague, Mr Madden fears for many “this is the last straw”.