Monitoring mice in Australia – July 2016

Update #10

Summary

  • Mouse abundance is moderate/high on parts of the Darling Downs, Queensland – Significant densities of mice (~400 mice/ha) are present in sorghum stubble in the Central Downs, but low elsewhere.Mouse abundance update Map Jul 2016

  • Mouse numbers are generally low in all other locations. Mice have stopped breeding and abundance will remain low until after breeding commences in early spring (around September). 

  • Please continue to use MouseAlert. Please report and map mouse activity using MouseAlert (www.mousealert.org.au) so other growers can see what mouse activity is being observed in their neighbourhood. Follow on twitter using @MouseAlert.

Current situation

Mouse abundance remains relatively low across all monitoring sites, except moderate/high activity in the Central Downs region of Queensland. Mice stopped breeding in late autumn and will start again in early spring (early September), so abundance will continue to decline through winter. Growers should be vigilant for signs of activity or damage leading up to ripening of winter crops in early spring and into summer 2016 and take appropriate action. Please report activity on MouseAlert between now and the next round of monitoring in August/September.

Mouse abundance update July 2016 at benchmark sites

  • South Australia: Mouse numbers are low in all locations. Mouse abundance was relatively high on Yorke Peninsular in April, but has declined since then. Mouse abundance remained low on benchmark sites in Adelaide Plains and Eyre Peninsula in June, but growers should remain vigilant and act accordingly if damage is likely.
  • Victoria: Mouse abundance is low in all locations. Mouse numbers are low across Mallee and Wimmera regions (Figure 2). Growers should remain vigilant and act accordingly if damage is likely.
  • Queensland: Moderate/high mouse activity in Central Darling Downs: Live trapping revealed a high density of 400 mice/ha in sorghum stubble and 100 mice/ha in newly sown chickpea crops. Chew card data showed high activity on sites between Millmerran and Dalby, but low activity on sites northwest of Dalby towards Chinchilla. New monitoring locations have been selected and monitoring will continue. The next scheduled monitoring is September. Growers should undertake their own monitoring and report it on MouseAlert between now and the next round of monitoring in August/September.
  • Northern, Central & Southern NSW: Mouse numbers are generally low in all locations. Low activity on all sites (Riverina, Central West and around Moree). Data for Central NSW were collected as part of the Central West Farming Systems “Rain Grain and Stubble” GRDC project.
  • Western Australia: Mouse activity is low in all locations. Ravensthorpe: Nil or low activity reported. Geraldton: Nil or low activity reported.

The ‘Mouse Forecast’

Northwest Victoria: There is a low likelihood of an outbreak in autumn 2016 (probability of 0.17). The model will be re-run in September 2016 to estimate the likelihood of an outbreak in Northwest Victoria in autumn 2017.

Central Darling Downs (QLD): The Maximum Density Index is currently High (in line with observations, and as predicted in August 2015, Issue #7 of the Mouse Update). The potential for a problem next year is predicted to be Low, because historically, low numbers are generally expected in the year following high numbers.

MouseAlertApp_PhonescreenFuture activities

Please continue to report mouse abundance on your farm (presence and absence!) using MouseAlert  (www.mousealert.org.au) on your smart phone, tablet or computer and to  check what other mouse activity is being  reported locally and regionally. There are now more than 365 records despite low mouse numbers. We welcome any information at any time.

You can now Download the App for  MouseAlert from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. You can also follow progress on
Twitter (@MouseAlert).

Background

This is an update on surveillance of mice across the grain-belt of Australia for June/July 2016. Mouse populations were monitored in typical grains farming systems in WA, SA, Vic, and NSW and during early winter 2016 (June/July). The monitoring provides data on the size (abundance) of mouse populations, their breeding status and overall activity. This information is used in models that have been developed progressively over the last 20-30 years to predict mouse outbreaks. Monitoring was conducted on:

  • Benchmark sites: live trapping data collected for use in models in Adelaide Plains (SA), Walpeup (Vic) and the Darling Downs (Qld).
  • Quantitative rapid-assessment sites: using mouse chew cards and active mouse burrows assessments on 86 transects across 11 sites.
  • Qualitative monitoring networks: using data from farmers and agronomist in 11 sites.

This is part of an 18 month extension to a 3-year study funded by the GRDC to monitor mouse populations and forecast the likelihood of mouse outbreaks. The project is a collaboration between Landcare Research (New Zealand), CSIRO Agriculture and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. The project will finish in June 2017.

Further information

For further information about the monitoring or models, or if you have observed mouse activity in your area, please contact the people below, or see www.mousealert.org.au

Dr Peter Brown
CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, Canberra
Peter.Brown@csiro.au
Simon Humphrys
Invasive Animals CRC, Adelaide
Simon.Humphrys@invasiveanimals.com
Dr Roger Pech
Landcare Research, New Zealand
PechR@LandcareResearch.co.nz
Documents

Mouse Monitoring project Update #10 July 2016

Links