Monitoring mice in Australia – November 2015

Update #8

Summary

  • This is the final scheduled update reporting on mouse monitoring as part of this project.

  • Mouse numbers are generally low in all locations (Figure 1, right) – Mouse abundance is usually lowest in spring, but good breeding (depending on conditions) will increase abundance through summer into autumn. Breeding started in early spring and mouse abundance could continue to increase. Growers should be vigilant for signs of activity or damage leading up to sowing in early autumn 2016 and take appropriate action.
  • Please continue to use MouseAlert. You can continue to 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 (Figure 1). Breeding started in early spring and mouse abundance could continue to increase. Growers should be vigilant for signs of activity or damage leading up to sowing in early autumn 2016 and take appropriate action.

  • South Australia: Mouse numbers are low across most of SA. Mouse abundance remained low on benchmark sites in Adelaide Plains in October (Figure 2 right, click on graph for larger view) and activity is low on Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula. Growers should remain vigilant as crops mature.

  • Victoria: Mouse abundance is generally low. Mouse numbers are low across Mallee and Wimmera regions (Figure 2). Growers should be vigilant as crops mature.
  • Queensland: Very few mice were observed on the Darling Downs and Central Queensland (Figure 3). There are hotspots on the Downs, but none near our monitoring sites. Most of the activity continues to be further west in the Warra & Jimbour areas.
  • Northern, central and southern NSW: Generally low activity. Nil chew card activity on most sites. 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. Ravensthorpe: Nil cards chewed from 1 site. Geraldton: none to low activity from 4 sites. 

The ‘Mouse Forecast’

Central Darling Downs (QLD):The density index for the mouse population is currently very low (1.1%). The probability of High density in May 2016 is 0.11, for Moderate density is 0.62 and Low is 0.25. The Darling Downs model has achieved a 78% success rate from these long-term predictions over the period of 1989 to 2003.

Northwest Victoria: There is a low likelihood of an outbreak in autumn 2016 (probability of 0.17). The prediction for Northwest Victoria is dependent on rainfall in December. If December rainfall is low (eg 0 mm), then mouse abundance will remain low. If December rainfall is average (25 mm) then mouse abundance will increase to around 10-15% and could cause low levels of damage. If December rainfall is high (eg 50 mm), then mouse abundance will increase to 25-35% and could cause some damage at sowing.

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. 

You can now Download the App for  MouseAlert from the App Store or  iTunes or Google Play. There are now more than 330 records despite low mouse numbers. We welcome any information at anytime.

You can also follow progress on
Twitter (@MouseAlert).

Background

This is an update on surveillance of mice across the grain-belt of Australia for September/October 2015. Mouse populations were monitored in typical grains farming systems in WA, SA, Vic, NSW and Qld during early Spring 2015 (Sept/Oct). 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 (Figure 4 Map below right: Approximate locations of mouse monitoring occurring in WA, SA, Vic, NSW and Qld. Click on the image for a larger map.):

  • Apr2015_locationMapBenchmark 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 agronomists in 11 sites.

This is part of 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 (NZ), CSIRO Agriculture Flagship and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. The project will finish at the end of 2015.

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
Links
Documents

Mouse Monitoring Update #8 - November 2015    [ 530kb PDF ]