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Special forum convened to address worsening mouse issue

The specially convened GRDC Mouse Update will feature lead researcher Steve Henry (pictured during a mouse monitoring exercise with colleague Wendy Ruscoe), from CSIRO, who will deliver an assessment of the current situation.
Photo: GRDC

The worsening mouse situation in some of Australia’s key cropping regions will be addressed at a specially convened online forum.

With mice ravaging freshly planted summer crops in parts of northern New South Wales and Queensland and in large numbers elsewhere across eastern and southern states, concern is mounting about further impact to summer crops ahead of grain fill and harvest and the potential threat to the 2021 winter grain crop.

The nation’s grain growers and their advisers will be briefed on the situation during a special GRDC online Mouse Update on Friday, February 12.

The live streamed Grains Research Update will enable growers to hear directly from GRDC-supported experts from CSIRO, who will provide the latest insights into the extent of the issue and practical mouse management advice for now and in the lead up to summer crop harvest and the sowing of winter crops.

GRDC Manager Pests, Leigh Nelson, says the Mouse Update has been convened in response to the escalation in rodent numbers and the damage being caused.

“The need for such a forum has been identified by farmer representative organisation AgForce, and GRDC has swiftly responded by organising an online Grains Research Update through Independent Consultants Australia Network (ICAN),” Dr Nelson says.

“The Mouse Update will be an important platform for sharing information and discussing tactics to reduce the threat – now and over the coming months in advance of northern summer crop grain fill and harvest and winter crops going in the ground, including those in Victoria and South Australia where mouse numbers are also of concern in some areas.

“The convenient online format – which has proven successful since the COVID-19 pandemic limited face-to-face forums – will enable growers, advisers and others across the nation to hear from the experts and be informed.”

The interactive Update will feature GRDC-supported lead mouse researcher Steve Henry from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, who will deliver an assessment of the current situation in all States. Mr Henry will also discuss:

  • critical mouse control considerations ahead of the summer crop harvest and in the lead up to autumn sowing of winter crops,
  • maximising the effectiveness of control using zinc phosphide,
  • the latest research on baits,
  • monitoring, including the development of remote systems,
  • ecology – the impact of farming systems on mice.

The Mouse Update will begin at 9am AEDT (8am Queensland, 8:30am SA and 6am WA). The Update will be recorded and available for viewing and downloading via the GRDC website.

In the meantime, more details about mice control options are available via GRDC.

Mr Henry also urges growers to report and map mouse activity – presence and absence – using MouseAlert and via Twitter using @MouseAlert so other growers can see what activity is being observed in their neighbourhood.

GRDC has invested in a major mouse-related research, development and extension program that is continuing to reveal new insights about mice in Australian broadacre cropping systems. The work is investigating mouse biology, ecology and bait efficacy.

Results from current research efforts will form the basis of a series of recommendations for improved mouse control strategies for Australian grain growers.

More information: to register for the webinar, contact John Cameron or Erica McKay at ICAN on 02 9482 4930 or

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