Tips and Tactics – Better Mouse Management

GRDC - PestSmart, CSIRO

Type: Factsheet
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Did you know that a mouse can eat 3.5 g/day so 30 kg/ha loss at harvest (for a yield of 1 t/ha) is equivalent to 8570 mouse grazing days/ha?


This fact sheet has been produced by GRDC in 2017 to assist with mouse management on your property.

Detecting mice early through monitoring is critical for controlling numbers effectively and reducing crop damage

Mouse numbers can build rapidly under the right conditions, leading to crop damage throughout the growing season. Early detection and integrated management across farm are crucial for reducing the risk of mouse impacts. Once mouse numbers are very high, it is very difficult to reduce damage and control strategies can be costly.

The key points are:

  • High numbers of mice cause crop damage, loss of livestock feed and fodder, contamination of stored grain and spread of disease
  • The breeding season is usually October to May but the start and duration is determined by the availability and quality of food
  • Monitoring reveals changes in populations and can help indicate when control is needed
  • The most important times to undertake monitoring are prior to sowing (March–April) and in early spring (September–October)
  • Year-round paddock and farm hygiene practices are key to minimising the availability of quality food to mice

The fact sheet covers the following areas:

  • Observe and monitor – There are simple in-paddock monitoring techniques—mouse chew cards and active burrow counts—that can be used when conditions indicate there is a risk of increasing mouse numbers
  • Have mouse numbers increased?  There are simple indicators available
  • Monitoring techniques – including active burrow counts, mouse chew cards
  • A note on trapping – Trapping is not recommended as a method for monitoring mice as it is time-consuming and there is a risk of capturing non-target species
  • Conditions that encourage mice
  • Is it a plague?
  • Control mice with an integrated approach
  • Baiting is not a total solution for crop protection, but assists in minimising potential damage.
  • Mouse baiting recommendations

In conclusion, mice can cause damage to sown seed and emerging, growing and ripening crops. Mice will continue to feed on a crop while it is a food source. Damage is most severe for about two to three weeks after crop emergence
and again around seedset. However, mice will sometimes cause significant damage to tillering cereals.



2017 - Australia - GRDC - PestSmart, CSIRO
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