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The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
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The Northern Rivers Times Rural News Edition 107
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Rural News

CSIRO research confirms new baiting regime effective for mouse management

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CSIRO research confirms new baiting regime effective for mouse management.

New research led by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has found mouse populations can be reduced significantly by doubling the amount of zinc phosphide (ZnP) in grain baits used for broadscale agriculture.

The results of an in-field study, published in Wildlife Research, confirm those of earlier laboratory studies which demonstrated a lower sensitivity of mice to ZnP than previously reported.

The studies were undertaken in response to concerns from farmers, who suspected mouse baits were not as effective as they needed to be to control mice in broadscale agriculture, particularly when mouse numbers were high.

With investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), CSIRO researchers embarked on a series of studies to re-assess the sensitivity of mice to ZnP in the laboratory and the effectiveness of a new bait formulation in the field.

The Wildlife Research paper is the third in a series investigating the responses of mice to ZnP baits. The initial two publications are the first efficacy studies done in Australia since ZnP was registered for agricultural use.

CSIRO researcher Mr Steve Henry said the first study published in Pest Management Science found that bait consisting of grains coated with 25 g ZnP/kg grain did not always provide a lethal dose to mice, and mice that didn’t die from an initial feed of this bait became bait averse.

“We followed up with a second study, now published in Integrative Zoology, that re-assessed the sensitivity of mice to ZnP. The results showed that mice were significantly less sensitive to ZnP than previously reported,” Mr Henry said.

“These results highlighted the importance of every bait grain needing to be a lethal dose as there is no guarantee that mice will find and consume more than one baited grain, and consumption of a sub-lethal dose leads to aversion.

“The final study conducted near Parkes, NSW, took the findings of our laboratory tests into the field and confirmed that 50 g ZnP/kg grain bait is required to consistently reduce mouse populations.

“The findings confirmed that the 50 g ZnP/kg grain bait was able to achieve more than an 80 percent reduction in mouse populations more than 90 percent of the time,” he said.

GRDC Pests Manager Dr Leigh Nelson said the three studies provide a solid body of evidence for the superior efficacy of the 50 g ZnP/kg grain bait, which will give growers a more effective tool to manage mice and protect their crops.

“The use of 50g ZnP/kg grain baits should reduce the need for repeat baiting which is costly. Any savings on the bottom line from mouse damage would be welcomed by farmers,” Dr Nelson said.

“I would still encourage farmers to implement a suite of best practice management tactics to protect crops from mice,” she said.

During the height of the 2021 mouse plague, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority granted an emergency use permit to increase the concentration of ZnP from 25g ZnP/kg to 50g ZnP/kg grain bait products based on CSIRO’s laboratory research.

The efficacy research produced consistent, scientifically rigorous results and followed the principles defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines and was approved by CSIRO’s Wildlife, Livestock and Laboratory Animal Ethics Committee.

 

Rural News

Varroa tracing confirms additional detections

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Varroa tracing confirms additional detections

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed two new detections of Varroa, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

This brings the total number of infected premises to 64 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

NSW DPI Deputy Chief Plant Protection Officer Chris Anderson said the new detections at One Mile and Anna Bay fall within existing emergency zones.

“Having conducted significant surveillance around the edges of the most affected eradication zone around Newcastle, we are confident that we have a clearer picture of the current spread of varroa mite,” he said.

“We have now refocused our efforts on tracing and euthanising hives within this zone, which has led to an increased number of detections in recent days.”

“The good news is that all the confirmed cases either have clear links to existing cases or are geographically linked through the movement of hives or equipment, which continues to give us confidence we are on the right track.”

DPI’s response plan for the eradication of Varroa mite in NSW follows a strategy agreed between the apiary industry, NSW DPI, neighbouring jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.

“Along with staff from Local Land Services, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Environment Protection Authority, the apiary industry and horticulture industry, NSW DPI has made significant progress in reducing the risk of any further spread of Varroa mite,” Dr Anderson said.

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide.

More information is available from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.

 

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Rural News

Red zone expanded due to new Varroa detections

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Red zone expanded due to new Varroa detections

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed three new detections of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

Two new detections near Salt Ash and another at Butterwick in the Port Stephens LGA brings the total number of infested premises to 59 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

NSW DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said the new infested hives fall within an existing red zone, but with a new biosecurity order being made, the eradication zone around the Butterwick detection will expand slightly to the west.

“NSW DPI has put significant measures in place to arrest the spread of the threat any further and has been working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure all 13,000 registered commercial and recreational beekeepers in the State are up to date with the latest information,” Mr Kumar said.

“We are continuing to work closely with the apiary and horticultural industries to ensure beekeepers are able to manage their hives to prevent swarming as the weather warms up and that they can safely move hives for pollination.

“It’s critical that we take every precaution to ensure the threat is contained, but it’s also vital that the industry is able to safely continue operations where possible so that beekeepers and producers can maintain their businesses.”

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide.

Beekeepers work side-by-side with government as part of Australia’s early warning system to detect exotic honeybee pests, the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, which includes surveillance hives and catch boxes at strategic locations around our ports and airports.

More information is available from NSW DPI: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

 

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Rural News

Port bottlenecks holding Australia back

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Port bottlenecks holding Australia back

The state’s peak farming organisation has warned Australia will be left behind without significant improvement and investment in freight infrastructure at Port Botany.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said access to export markets was critical for farmers, but high port charges, poor rail quality and port bottlenecks were limiting Australia’s competitiveness.

“Agricultural industries are an economic dynamo in New South Wales, but we’re being outpaced by other countries because of the situation at our ports,” Mr Martin said.

“We have three ports and we need to get them up to scratch; look at Port Botany, at the eastern end of the country’s biggest city, it can’t take big trains and requires trucks to travel Sydney’s congested roads – that’s hardly a recipe for success.

“Our members grow food and fibre and want to get it to market, but they’re held back by these issues that need urgent attention.

In a submission to the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy, NSW Farmers highlighted the fact our farmers produce more than $17 billion worth of food and fibre every year, or around 25 per cent of total national production, and contribute significantly to the state’s total exports. Data from the NSW Department of Primary Industries shows primary industries exports increased by 17 per cent to $6.6 billion in 2020-21. But without significant improvement in the rail access to and operations at Port Botany, supply chain challenges will increase over time and reduce the competitiveness of NSW grain exports.

“We need the NSW Government to continue to regulate access until there are significant improvements, and only consider increasing fees if services improve and costs reduce,” Mr Martin said.

“There needs to be a priority for the regional freight that drives so much economic activity, and I think there’s a role for the state government here in removing the roadblocks to future success.

“Ultimately we want to see more efficient, more cost-effective freight options for farmers, because that will have benefits for everyone.”

At the recent annual conference, NSW Farmers members voted to advocate for priority access for rail food freight, and more efficient port access.

“There was a real sense in the room that farmers want to get on with the business of farming without having to worry about these transport bottlenecks,” Mr Martin said.

“We’re really pleased to see the Port of Newcastle invest in mobile harbour cranes and move into the container trade – this is a common sense move in the right direction.

“The state government needs to embrace every opportunity to improve freight efficiency so we can take the handbrake off agriculture and grow our economy.”

 

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