Mouse plague hits Australian farmers as heavy rains follow drought.

Australian farmer Norman Moeris lifts a protective tarpaulin covering his valuable grain harvest on a cool evening – only to reveal a seething mass of rodents.

Moeris is among thousands of farmers in parts of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states dealing with an infestation of mice that have ravaged crops, gnawed through farming equipment and household appliances, caused power blackouts and invaded supermarkets.

“This grain here, the mice have just totally ruined it. [We’ll] probably just dig a hole and bury the lot of it,” Moeris said. “Not worth feeding to the livestock in case you kill them.”

For Moeris and other farmers, the timing of the plague is heartbreaking, caused by heavy rains in recent months that had relieved the country’s worst drought in years.

The wet weather not only helped produce Australia’s largest-ever grain crop, but also provided ample food for the mice, fuelling their fast reproductive cycle.

Moeris grows wheat, barley, oats, chickpeas and broad beans, and rears 900 merino sheep on 2,800 acres on his farm near Gilgandra, 430km northwest of Sydney.

The 65-year-old said he has lost $130,000 (€82,000) worth of grain due to the mouse plague, following the loss of about 2,100 sheep during the three-year drought, and there’s little he can do.

Despite perimeter baiting around paddocks and laying traps and water buckets around the house, the mice just keep coming.

“It’s just hard, after the drought, that’s the biggest trouble,” said Moeris. “We’ve been on our knees, we got up a bit, now we’re back on our knees with the mice.”

The New South Wales state government earlier this month offered farmers free bait to eradicate the rodents, but has so far resisted calls from some to allow the use of bromadiolone, a poison currently banned in Australia. Some farmers and environmentalists have warned of the unintended consequences to native animals from its use.

Moeris has no option but to press on.

“What do you do? Do it again next spring, hopefully to God it all comes off,” he said. “We’ll do it again, the mice will come back again in another couple of years’ time and we’ll probably do it all again. That’s Australian life.” – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Twitter briefly suspends Dave Portnoy for unknown reason.

Twitter briefly suspends Dave Portnoy for unknown reason.

The Barstool Sports founder was reinstated after uproar, it is still unclear why the media figure was banned. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompass...

Mexico City Metro Collapse Blamed On Poor Construction.

Mexico City Metro Collapse Blamed On Poor Construction.

Officials are under pressure after an independent investigation pointed to structural faults as the cause of the accident. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands tha...

Juneteenth Becomes a Federal Holiday in the US

Juneteenth Becomes a Federal Holiday in the US

African Americans traditionally celebrate and reflect on the anniversary of the announcement that ended slavery in America

Condoleezza Rice explains growing up in segregated Alabama - Everything will be Okay.

Condoleezza Rice explains growing up in segregated Alabama - Everything will be Okay.

This week, Dana sits down with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Secretary Rice discusses how her father influenced her life and shaped her into the powerful woman she is today and how his guidance helped her during some of the most...

For Juneteenth, Obama reflects on future of democracy and bridging the divide.

For Juneteenth, Obama reflects on future of democracy and bridging the divide.

Former President Barack Obama acknowledged a political divide but said he hopes for unity. He said that the next generation has the responsibility to further equality for all.

Boris Johnson reflects on 'peculiar and bizarre' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat.

Boris Johnson reflects on 'peculiar and bizarre' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat.

Boris Johnson said he believed in “uniting and levelling up” across the country when asked if the Chesham and Amersham by-election loss was a sign the “Blue Wall” in the South was being neglected for voters in the North. From Brexit breaking news ...