IRISH DOWNPOUR BRINGS RATS
Rats are not cute when they are eating all the grain meant for humans.
Special Feature – Pest Control
THE RECENT WETNESS HAS UNFORTUNATELY PROMPTED A RAT ALERT. WE CAN’T CHANGE THE WEATHER BUT WE CAN REACT QUICKLY TO STOP RATS IN THEIR TRACKS. IRISH FARMERS ARE BEING WARNED TO TAKE URGENT STEPS TO PROTECT THEIR INCREASINGLY VALUABLE GRAIN AGAINST EARLIER-THAN-NORMAL RAT INFESTATIONS THIS HARVEST.
One of the wettest summers on record and continued water logging in the run-up to harvest is set to drive rats from fields and into farmyard buildings relatively early. Even though they may not be immediately obvious, unless migrating rats are controlled effectively from the start farm infestations are likely to become particularly problematic throughout the coming winter. “Long experience teaches us that flooded fields and ditches leads rats to relocate to drier farmyard accommodation as soon as food supplies permit,” explains Joe Lynch of BASF Pest Control Solutions. “We know the ground is currently wetter than most of us can remember at this time of year. And we know large amounts of grain will be coming into store over the next few weeks. So it is essential to be prepared to tackle a major early rat challenge. Especially with grain prices rising so encouragingly as extreme weather affects harvest forecasts across the world.”
To combat this season’s particular threat, Joe Lynch recommends a four point control plan:
1. Check your grain storage buildings carefully ahead of harvesting for damage to walls and doors, and make them as rodent proof as possible.
2. Locate a series of baiting containers in key areas around the perimeter of your grain stores to familiarise rats to their presence.
3. Monitor the external sides of your buildings, rough ground and silage pits, hay and straw stacks every week for rat droppings, rat runs and gnawing damage.
4. Bait the containers with STORM for maximum speed and reliability of uptake and action in the presence of other foods as soon as you detect any rat activity.
“The ready supply of fresh grain means you must use the most potent and palatable bait available if damage and contamination is to be prevented,” stresses Joe Lynch. “Unlike many rodenticides that are only lethal if rats and mice consume them several times, STORM is powerful enough to kill from a single feed. Its high-quality crushed grain, low wax block is far more palatable than many alternatives, as well as resisting both moisture and moulding extremely well. Importantly too, no practical resistance has yet been detected to flocoumafen. So STORM will give reliably complete control of even populations resistant to other anticoagulants.” Joe Lynch is adamant that robust, early control has to be the first priority around grain stores this season, pointing to studies that show leaving control until infestations become obvious means large well-entrenched populations which may require four or five times the amount of rodenticide to overcome. “At the start of a typical infestation you may only have than 10 rats to deal with and these will be concentrated in a relatively small area,” he advises. “But their breeding rate means you can have hundreds of individuals after only two or three months. At the same time, competitive pressures ensure they disperse over a wider area, making them even more difficult and costly to control.”
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