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Press release: Keep an eye out for Rats

Rat numbers are on the increase across the Herbert cane growing region. Growers are urged to monitor crops for rat infestations over the next few months and take the necessary action to manage this pest before significant crop damage occurs.

Lodged and open crops, since the recent rains have allowed for weeds to emerge within the crop and for rats to easily forage on laying down cane stalks. Significant crop damage due to rats was observed late last year and will continue again this season, due to ideal conditions being experienced.

HCPSL and Project Catalyst, recently conducted a workshop on “Rats, Pigs and Soils”, where Travis Van Dooren from Travearth Drone Services (mobile: 0423 638 628) showcased his drone mounted rat bait dispensing device. The device can drop industry approved rat baits from a drone precisely and accurately into large standing and lodged crops of cane. This service will allow farmers to target smaller blocks and blocks where larger aircraft cannot service.

Local aerial operators Liddles and Travearth are available to undertake rat baiting activities of large or small cane blocks in the local area.

As a part of an integrated rat management program farmers are also urged to manage weed infestations within crop and along riparian areas. Weed seed is a source of protein for rats and allows them to reproduce into significant numbers, if left unmanaged.

Growers should consider rat baiting problematic blocks as a part of their integrated rat management program before significant crop losses occur this year.

For more information about implementing an integrated rat management program, please contact a HCPSL Extension Agronomist.

Travis Van Dooren showcasing his drone-mounted rat bait dispenser at the recent HCPSL & Project Catalyst workshop.

HCPSL