NEW South Wales Farmers are calling for urgent delivery of the State Government’s $50 million mouse plague assistance package, as farmers struggle to hold off sowing their winter crop.
Grain treatment sites remain dependant on approval from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and the Mouse Bait Rebate Program is not due to open until July.
NSW Farmers say immediate baiting support is needed before the mice chew more than a billion dollars off the farmgate value of the state’s winter crop.
“Farmers are abandoning some paddocks and cannot hold off winter crop sowing a moment longer and researchers warn that without a concerted baiting effort in the next few weeks this could easily turn into a two year plague event,” said NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin.
“NSW Farmers has consistently said the simplest, safest and most timely way for the State Government to assist farmers would be through providing rebates of up to $25,000 per farm business to cover 50 percent of the cost of zinc phosphide bait,” he said.
“The State Government’s assistance package is impractical, dysfunctional and weeks away, which is not helping farmers who need support right now to drive mouse numbers down and break this horrible unrelenting cycle,” he said.
NSW Farmers initially welcomed the State Government’s $50 million assistance package however, the provision of “free baits for farmers” are still dependent on APVMA approval, which may be weeks away.
“This mouse plague will be a significant financial hit to the NSW economy, as it is not just about the grain crop, and food production, but also all the regional businesses, traders and employees that rely on the farming sector. The NSW grains industry alone employs more than 10,000 people in regional areas,” Mr Martin said.
“Each day we delay in taking effective action to control these mice will increase economic losses and the likelihood we will still be battling mice come Christmas time,” he said.