NSW Farmers’ Association, Media Release, 11 May 2021
“The smell is horrific. You can pick up all the mice you see but there is always more. I did 38 loads of washing in three days. My house is pretty much packed up in boxes,” Lisa Minogue, Farmer, Barmedman.
NSW Farmers and the CWA have joined forces in calling for the State Government to implement a mouse plague financial support package, providing up to $25,000 per farm business to assist with baiting costs.
The two organisations held a parliamentary briefing today to outline the significant financial and health impacts of the relentless mouse plague that continues to spread across the state.
“Farmers and rural communities are still in the midst of combatting a ceaseless mouse plague that is continuing to impact the northern and central west regions and rapidly spreading and growing through the south,” said NSW Farmers Grains Committee Chair Matthew Madden.
Mr Madden said loss of stored grain and fodder is having the greatest financial impact, with a third of respondents to a NSW Farmer survey reporting estimating losses between $50,000 and $150,000.
“The survey results also showed that the costs of baiting so far for some exceeds $150,000, with 30% having spent between $20,000 and $150,000 already.”
“More than 80% of respondents also reported damage to agricultural machinery and infrastructure, with around a third saying the damage bill was between $20,000 and $150,000.”
Availability of mouse bait is also an escalating issue, with 75% of farmers reporting an inability to access bait when needed.
“The government can have a role to play in supporting the establishment of and streamlining approvals for regional grain treatment stations, allowing farmers to treat their own grain, reducing the cost and biosecurity risks associated with baiting.”
CWA CEO Danica Leys said the social and mental health impacts on farmers, their families and rural communities are also rising sharply.
“A staggering 97% of the survey respondents felt the influx of mice is affecting their stress levels making farm business decisions,” Mrs Leys said.
“People are having issues with sleeping, which we all know as a significant impact on mental and physical health.”
“There are plenty of reports of people being bitten and mice also make their way into rain water tanks causing contamination of domestic water storages with different bacteria such as salmonella.”
“And it’s not just farm businesses. Regional hotels, retail and food businesses, bakeries, supermarkets, child care centres and aged care homes have also felt the impact of this mouse plague.”
“All of these financial and health impacts follow unprecedented drought, catastrophic bushfires and most recently floods across large regions. It is time for the state government to act.”