The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Luke O’Sullivan MP, spoke in Parliament to seek the establishment of a taskforce to combat the pending mice plague in the grain areas of the Northern Victoria Region and the Wimmera.

Mr O’Sullivan raised the matter in Parliament, stating that mice have been a problem for the past few years of crop harvesting, with 2018 looking to be no different.

“We are just approaching sowing season now, and the mice are starting to breed up very quickly.”

“I was speaking to a farmer from Ouyen who told me that they are starting to particularly get into the crop areas. He says they are going to be a real problem once they start to sow the grain.” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Mr O’Sullivan also referenced the tough health department requirements in Victoria associated with accessing zinc phosphide, which are a major hindrance in dealing with the mouse plague.

“I am looking for the Minister for Agriculture to really take that on board and try to put something in place that will allow the farmers of Victoria to access zinc phosphide readily.”

The requirements from the health department are too onerous, so the farmers have to go interstate to get it.

“It is getting very expensive. Currently it is about $3 a kilogram if you supply your own grain, if you take it to Balranald, and when you are putting on a kilogram per hectare, if you are running 4000 or 5000 hectares, you are looking up to $15 000 every time you bait — and you might have to do that three to six times a season depending on how bad the mice are.”

“We are getting to a point now where if the mice get that bad there will be shortages of zinc phosphide throughout the southern part of Australia, and if that is the case, farmers will have to resort to using off-label chemicals and start to do their own mixing to try to combat the problem.”