Farmers face the impact of rats devouring crops

Farmers face the impact of rats devouring crops

After years of drought, farmers in eastern Australia have been facing rats devouring their crops for months. – Rick Rycroft / AB / Ciba

As you may have seen on the networks, his dream videos are viewed by thousands Mouse Warehouses, apartments and moving forces at high speeds. The pictures were filmed
Australia. After many years
Drought, The devastating wildfires of late 2019 and the ensuing floods, farmers in the east of the country are now facing an invasion of rats that are devouring their crops and face, leaving them completely helpless.

“My father is still alive, he’s 93, and it’s been the worst three years of his life. He fears that this misery will continue into the southern winter. “I’m a little worried about what’s going to happen in the spring if we do not have a very cold and wet winter,” he said.

Landed in Australia with the first British immigrants

Steve Henry, a researcher at CSIRO, the Center for Public Scientific Research, is still hopeless. “When such an invasion of rats ends, they will disappear overnight, which we do not see now,” says rat expert Steve Henry. animals Insects for almost three decades.

The rats landed in Australia with the first British settlers. This little rodent is linked to the climate, with good and bad performance of Australian agriculture. So this misery happens often, but this year it has reached new heights.

Climate change may make this event more frequent

This year’s numbers are “simply astronomical,” says Terry Fishpool, 74, a grain farmer at NSW, Tottenham. The highest number of rodents was reported in October alone, and a bumper harvest, after a severe drought, allowed them to multiply.

Bill Batman, an associate professor at Curtin University in Western Australia, estimates that so far these mouse invasions have occurred only once a decade, but that climate change may be the most common. “If we don’t have a harsh winter anymore, the rats will have enough to survive all year, so it will become chronic,” says Bill Batman.

Is a pesticide dangerous to the environment?

Faced with this agony, the Australian government has announced a multi-million dollar aid program and developed a powerful pesticide, promethazine, which has not yet been approved by authorities. But this antifungal, which acts faster and more efficiently than the pesticides that are so prevalent so far, has the disadvantage of staying longer in the body of dead or dying mice.

So experts fear it will kill the animal as well, and then it will eat the poisoned rats. “The use of this second-generation rodent control product is of great concern,” said Bill Batman of the School of School Molecular and Life Sciences. “This is a dangerous slope” and its long-term use and stay in the environment. By killing natural predators, it could poison humans through the food chain, he said.

“In the future we’re really going to get ourselves in trouble, not only by destroying our biodiversity, but also by destroying our defenses against future mouse invasion.” For Steve Henry, pesticides, traps and previously used methods can help reduce the number of rats if the number of rats continues to increase after the winter. According to him the priority is to find long-term solutions, including the causes of this “biggest” scourge.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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