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Is a poisoned drone the answer to the murine plague in eastern Australia? | Australian countryside

Queensland Farmers Approved to Fly Drone in New South Wales Drop poison bait to combat the exacerbating rat plague.

The end of the long drought was good for the farmers, but they brought rats to eat the grain that was spilled and left behind during the harvest.

Steve Henry, head of research at CSIRO, which specializes in the impact of mice on the grain industry, said mice are thriving.

“You would describe it as a plague in parts of northern and southern New South Wales. Queensland Farmers are losing their summer crops to mice, “he said.

“They start breeding earlier and the system has plenty of food and shelter, so they continue to breed from early spring to autumn.”

Alan Brown, a Wagga Wagga farmer and member of the New South Wales Farmers Association, said the problem was serious, especially in irrigation and summer crop areas. He said the mice had made some crops “fully unusable.”

Brown said farmers are trying to establish winter crops in the coming months and it would be disastrous if they started eating seeds before the mice germinated.

“Farmers are forced to take action to prevent mice from actually causing significant damage to their crops,” he said.

Mouse plague has had devastating effects on crops, livestock and farm equipment for many years. Australia’s worst pandemic in 1993 caused an estimated $ 96 million worth of damage to livestock, equipment and thousands of hectares of crops. Another plague of 2010-11 affected 3m hectares of crops in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Roger Woods, a Queensland farmer and founder of Drone Commander Australia, which provides drones for agricultural purposes, has been approved by the New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency for operation in the state.

“I would call it an ongoing low-level mouse plague, and that makes it really resilient,” Woods said. “Usually, when a mouse plague occurs, the mouse is very breeding and the disease is prone to spread in confined spaces.”

He said the drone believed that it would help farmers fight the mouse problem. Because they can get over the crop without going through it.

“If you need to drive it to spread the mouse’s food, you lose $ 35 a hectare of grain with the wheels running on it,” he said. “The cost of a drone is only $ 10 per hectare.”

Woods flies a Blackhawk helicopter in the Army for 20 years, claiming that the drone is “very accurate” and can be used at night when mice are most active and birds are less likely to roost and accidentally poison. Did.

Henry said drones don’t solve the problem on their own, but they are “another tool that will be available to farmers.”

“What we want is that farmers are given the best tools they need to deal with this. It would be great if farmers could use the drone and it would help them get the job done. That’s it, “he said.

According to Henry, drones can play a role similar to the planes often used to spread food.

He said the rapid pace of mouse pregnancy is an important part of the problem. He said they were able to breed from 6 weeks of age and give birth to litters every 19-21 days without the need for breaks between litters.

Brown said the plague was much more serious than it is now, especially in 2012, but this time it was even more persistent. As before, the number of mice did not drop sharply after reaching a certain level.

For drones, he believed it could be part of the solution, but he acted early and emphasized the importance of “coping with mouse populations before sewing.”

Is a poisoned drone the answer to the murine plague in eastern Australia? | Australian countryside

Source link Is a poisoned drone the answer to the murine plague in eastern Australia? | Australian countryside

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