AGRICULTURAL areas affected by hail and storms during harvest last year had seen increased populations of mice at seeding, with CSIRO mouse researcher Steve Henry advising farmers to remain vigilant.
"Paddocks that had lots of grain loss, particularly barley stubbles, are where the mice are, especially where people haven't had the opportunity to graze livestock," he said.
"I was talking to a farmer at Adelaide Plains earlier this week, who baits their entire program every year, and he has yet to see any mice damage at this stage in the paddock.
"But for most of that area affected by the hailstorms last year, there are plenty of mice where grain had been knocked to the ground and not grazed, particularly around Freeling.
"We've also had reports from the Riverland and Mallee, but not at numbers worth baiting."
Paddocks that had lots of grain loss ... are where the mice are.- STEVE HENRY
The situation is a stark contrast to the significant numbers being seen in parts of WA and Qld at present, where homes, businesses and farms are being inundated.
Mr Henry said SA reports however had been patchy, and nothing considered an 'outbreak', but he still stressed vigilance.
"Thankfully going into winter the mice will stop breeding, and populations are expected to plateau, but in some areas, they are going into winter with high numbers," he said.
"I would advise those farmers to consider getting out in late winter/early spring to look for signs of damage. Given canola is worth over $1000 a tonne - I wouldn't be sitting back and waiting for major signs of damage before doing something about it."
GroundUp Agronomy consultant Michelle Bammann said she had not seen a lot of activity in the Mid North, except in paddocks that hadn't been grazed.
"There are active holes out there, which farmers have reported seeing mice while seeding, but nothing we would bait for just yet," she said.
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"It will be hard to tell what will be there come spring, but we are going into such a bleak weather phase, which isn't conducive for mice to survive in.
"But areas like the west coast, where they got the early rains, may see more activity than here."
AgSave Kimba manager Wez Schmidt, whose company makes Last Supper mouse bait, said there had been a few mice about, especially in sheds and homes, but only "light to moderate" numbers out in the paddock.
"We had a few putting bait out at seeding in isolated pockets, especially in paddocks that hadn't been grazed, but nothing too major," he said.
"Around houses and sheds however, a lot more are being seen than normal. Come spring, I believe there will be a few out baiting again."
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