Mouse bait rebates available as fears grow for another outbreak

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Primary producers affected by the ongoing mouse plague in New South Wales are eligible for rebates on zinc phosphide baits.

 Re-bait: The NSW government's cash back program is supported by NSW Farmers

The rebate program provides primary producers in the state with a 50 per cent rebate for the purchase of zinc phosphide up to $10,000.

To be eligible, primary producers must have purchased January 1 and December 17 this year to aid in the efforts to control the plague. Recipients must also have demonstrated financial hardship as a result of compounding financial strains including the plague, bushfires, floods and the pandemic. 

Applicants must live in one of the eligible local government areas, have a total business income from primary production of at least $20,000 and must not have gross off-farm assets exceeding $5 million. 

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the rebate offers producers the opportunity to alleviate some of the strains of the plague and encouraged them to take up the rebates where possible. 

"Our farmers have endured the toughest of conditions with recent seasons of drought, bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and now the mice plague and we want to help them protect their crops from rodents which pose a serious threat to the upcoming harvest," Barilaro says.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall also implored farmers to take up the rebate offer and ushered a reminder of both the dangers of the plague and the effectiveness of zinc phosphide. 

"Zinc phosphide is the best tool we have in managing the mice plague in crops, so this rebate will go a long way to support our growers, covering some of those costs," Marshall saiys

"I urge farmers to start monitoring mice numbers on their farms right now and start planning how they will manage the impacts as the population increases as we approach harvest.

"We have worked closely with NSW Farmers to ensure the eligibility requirements are fit for purpose and provide support to farmers who need it most."

Applications for the rebate can be submitted as a single claim and can be made online via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) prior to December 17. 

The mouse plague wreaked havoc across much of New South Wales’ farming regions throughout much of May and June, however NSW Farmers have already warned growers in the state of the potential onset of the plague in spring. 

The CSIRO has indicated a high risk of a mouse outbreak using predictive modelling forecasts this season and advises farmers to inspect and monitor paddocks and bait cards for mice activity. 

"The August update states that mouse numbers are moderate to high in parts of the Central West and highly variable in northern NSW, with serious concerns about the impact on chickpea crops," says NSW Farmers vice president, Xavier Martin.

"I am starting to see increased activity on my own farm, and I am hearing the same from a lot of Members.

"NSW Farmers is encouraging farmers to apply for the zinc phosphide bait rebate."

"NSW Farmers have advocated tirelessly for this financial support since February and along with the CWA of NSW, pursued a shared responsibility in combatting this plague, resulting in $150 million worth of mouse plague support packages announced by the NSW Government." 

"We do continue to call on the reallocation of funds not used for the defunct bromadiolone baiting scheme to be put into Mouse Bait Rebate Package. The mouse plague of 2021 is clearly not over and farmers will need all the support they can get." 

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