Red tape hinders baiting of rodents

Kate PollardCountryman
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As grain growers across the State continue to battle high mice numbers, a chemical distributor says registration of its mouse bait is being held up unnecessarily.

4Farmers managing director Neil Mortimer said the time to register a zinc phosphide unsterilised bait was frustrating, especially after it was given emergency approval by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) last year for sale in the eastern states.

4Farmers has been waiting for approval since March and at $2.50 a kilogram, Mr Mortimer said it offered a cheap and safe alternative to other products.

"If there was a more cheaply available mouse bait available two months ago, I suggest it would have helped farmers get on top of the problem a lot more," he said.

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"One of the problems over east last year was, because people were so sparing in terms of their baiting programs in early autumn, it just got out of control and they took a long time to get on top of it.

"I respect there is a need for the APVMA and a process that needs to be followed but it can be very frustrating at times because of the bureaucracy involved and the inconsistencies."

Mr Mortimer said the unsterilised mouse bait allowed farmers to use their own grain to treat and would help save on transport and grain costs.

High mice numbers are still causing grain growers problems across the State.

In Pestfax last week, Planfarm agronomist Peter Eliott-Lockhart reported high mice numbers in parts of the northern agricultural region causing damage to seedling crops with 300 hectares to be baited near Yuna.

Damage was also reported north of Kellerberrin in 8-12-leaf canola crops and two-leaf cereal crops south of Tammin by Dan Taylor, of DKT Rural Agencies.

In the south, Greg Hard, of Esperance Rural Supplies, said numbers were still high around Jerdacuttup and Beaumont.

Mr Hard said they had been able to keep up with demand even though product was often going out the door the same day it came in.

"I believe farmers will need to watch them because if they don't eradicate the mice completely they will become a problem at harvest time," he said.

It had been one of the busiest years for mouse bait sales at the Esperance store.

APVMA confirmed it had an application from 4Farmers but said because of confidential commercial information rules it was unable to comment further.

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