NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall will host a statewide forum involving key farming, research and industry stakeholders to help farmers manage an expected spring surge in mouse numbers across the state.
Recent rainfall has reduced the numbers of mice in parts of Singleton and the Upper Hunter, however local farmers remain concerned about a spring resurgence threatening summer crops in the region.
Alongside concerns about crop damage, the ongoing mouse plague has led to warnings from NSW Health about the risks of rodent-borne infectious diseases including leptospirosis.
Mouse plagues occur every 10 years or so, according to CSIRO researcher Steve Henry.
"We don't fully understand why we don't get a full on mouse outbreak like this every time we have a good season," Mr Harvey said.
"But it does seem to come at the end of a run of dry years."
Mr Henry said these plagues can have a one or two year cycle and a harsh winter can finish mice off, however if the rodents survive until spring it can potentially mean another year of difficult conditions.
Mr Marshall said the Farming Forum on Mice would help coordinate an industry-wide strategy to reduce the damage caused by an increase in mice numbers.
"The NSW Government has already put $150 million on the table through the mice support package but we know this threat is coming and it will take an industry-wide response to minimise its impact this harvest," Mr Marshall said.
"This forum is about bringing key government, industry and manufacturing representatives together ahead of what will be a spring surge in mouse numbers to ensure everything that can be done to tackle this problem is done."
The forum will include scientists and experts from the CSIRO, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services alongside industry groups including the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Grain Producers Australia and NSW Farmers.
"This forum will ensure we are working together to do absolutely everything possible to keep these vermin out of our crops," Mr Marshall said.
Topics for discussion include the current assistance measures available to NSW farmers, mouse population forecasts, bait availability and supply, zinc phosphide supply, mouse control and management advice as well as a Q&A session.
The forum will be held via Zoom at 3pm on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 and is open to members of the public.