Season 2021–22: information for WA farmers

Page last updated: Monday, 20 December 2021 - 9:08am

This page provides seasonally relevant information on conditions and management options in the agricultural areas of Western Australia.

Latest updates and advice

Seasonal issues

Australian plague locusts (APL)

  • Growers have been monitoring and spraying to control APL in perennial pastures. Swarms have been sighted from Moora to Perenjori.
  • To assess the risk for the coming season, DPIRD will be conducting surveys in mid-February, targeting areas which have received summer rainfall.

Landholders are advised to:

  • monitor paddocks regularly for hopper and adult locust numbers and control APL in crops as soon as damage is found
  • report observations via the DPIRD PestFax Reporter app.
Control measures

Apply insecticide over entire paddocks if damage to crops is observed or if pasture is valued at the cost of replacement feed for livestock and locust numbers exceed thresholds.

  • best time to apply an insecticide is when locusts are at immature hopper stage
  • treat small areas of dense masses of hoppers immediately after hatching
  • comply with label regulations, particularly the withholding periods.
Resources

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Mice

Grain spillage at harvest is likely to be a source of feed for mice presenting a potential risk of further increased numbers over summer. Growers are advised to monitor mice numbers over summer and have baits available should further control be required.

Landholders are advised to:
•    minimise grain spillage during harvest 
•    monitor paddocks and grain storage areas for mice activity over summer 
•    implement control measures when necessary
•    report mouse activity using the FeralScan MouseAlert app.

Control measures
  • Good on-farm hygiene is essential
  • Monitoring and detection: this can include the use of hole counts, chew cards and trapping to determine mice numbers
  • Baiting: The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) currently approves two concentrations of Zinc phosphide mouse bait (25g/kg and 50g/kg zinc phosphide). Where baiting is required, landholders are urged to bait according to label directions with either approved product to ensure baiting occurs within the optimal timeframe. There is a small window within which to bait before crops mature and set seeds or pod.  Due to high demand, delays in supply of the 50g/kg product are likely. Landholders are therefore encouraged to use the product that is most readily available, and are advised not to delay baiting in response to a shortage of their preferred product. (note: Zinc phosphide mouse baits are an S7 chemical and must only be sourced from licenced suppliers and/or manufacturers)
Baiting safety considerations
  • Zinc phosphide is registered for in-crop use only and strict baiting criteria have been established to minimise off target impacts. Bait must not be laid within 50m of the crop perimeter or native vegetation.
  • Zinc phosphide poses little secondary poisoning hazard and does not bioaccumulate in the environment. However, granivorous birds feeding in crops are at risk if bait is laid on bare ground or if patches of bait are spilled during baiting operations.
  • Checking for non-target animal mortalities is a condition for the use of rodenticides. Reports of misuse or wildlife deaths should be forwarded in writing to the Department of Health’s Medicines and Poisons Branch MPRB@health.wa.gov.au.
Resources

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Keep updated and report

Learn about the latest pests and diseases activity in WA and how to identify and manage them by reading  the PestFax e-newsletter. The PestFax map provides a visual display of current and historical insect or plant disease activity reported in WA. The PestFax team welcomes all insect and plant disease reports, and identification requests,  so we can continue providing risk alerts to the WA grains industry. Download and use the free PestFax Reporter app.

WA’s rural support services

Rural Aid provides assistance for primary producers and now has counsellors located in the WA wheatbelt.

For more information on other support services available to help people in rural areas of WA find the assistance they need to deal with stressful situations, please view WA's rural support services webpage and directory

Contact information

Kelly Hill
+61 (0)8 9892 8507
Brendan Nicholas
+61 (0)8 9083 1110
Juana Paynter