Victorian farmers have again been warned to
take care when using zinc phosphide to kill mice.
A late autumn break has delayed sowing in many
areas of the state's northwest and grain growers are
still lining up to buy zinc phosphide to combat mouse infestations.
Longernong College lecturer Russell Venn, who has organised
20 zinc phosphide user courses for 600 farmers since May,
said requests for courses were still being lodged.
He will travel to Jeparit next week to instruct growers
on zinc phosphide safety and effective use of ground and aerial baits.
"The feedback from farmers is that while they want to be able to kill mice
with zinc phosphide, because it is working, they want to make sure they
don't hurt themselves, their family, neighbours or any wildlife," Mr Venn said.
"For people used to handling chemicals there are no new problems as long as
they realise it is one of the most dangerous chemicals they will use."
Zinc Phosphide emits a poisonous gas called phosphine,
which builds up inside containers before they are opened.
Users of the bait must wear a respirator to protect
themselves against the gas.
Skin should also be protected from the chemical covered wheat.
Zinc phosphide has the potential to cause organ failure in humans,
as it does in mice, and death.
Initial poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Farmers wanting to use zinc phosphide have to successfully complete a
Farm Chemical Users Permit, hold a valid Agricultural Users Permit and
attend a zinc phosphide safety training course.
They should use a full-face respirator for aerial baiting and a half-face cartridge
respirator for ground baiting, both complying with AS 1715 standards.
Overalls and nitrile gloves must be warn and first aid kits with eye wash facilities
should be available.
Neighbours should be notified of any intentions to bait, the type of bait used,
the areas to be baited and of the dangers to wandering pets.
Natural resources and Environment Department mouse program operations manager
Ken Dowsley confirmed the National Registration Authority had extended the
ground and aerial permits for mouse baiting with zinc phosphide until October.
This is because the late season has delayed sowing and Mallee and Wimmera farmers
need to use zinc phosphide to kill emerging mice populations.
Mr Dowsley said 62,640 kilograms of zinc phosphide had been sold in Victoria so far -
71 per cent of which was for ground baiting.
Fears of widespread mice plagues in the Mallee were earlier dispelled and NRE officers
said infestations had been "patchy".
Mice trappings in May by the NRE and CSIRO found 300 to 400 mice a hectare, which is at
the lower end of the plague spectrum.
Handle with care.
.CONTAINERS should only be opened in the open air
.Open the lid away from the operator
.The operators and other personnel must stand up wind of the drum.
.The drum should be vented for five minutes after the lid is removed.
.Ensure hopper or bait spreader is dry and clean.
.Place large tarpaulin under the aircraft or spreader to collect grains.
.Monitor wildlife impact
.Report any findings of wildlife
.Excess baits in open containers to be destroyed by burying to a depth of at least 500 mm
.Excess baits in unopened containers to be returned to supplier
.Keep records detailing location of area baited, size of area,
amount of bait purchased and used and the time baiting occurred
.Used containers and drums to be crushed and buried in a disposal pit below 500mm
specifically marked and set up for this purpose and clear of waterways,
vegetation and roots.
.Exclude livestock to baited areas for 14 days