(Supplied: Louise Hennessy)

NSW Farmers is seeking urgent action from the NSW Government to support farmers and rural communities in combatting an escalating mice plague.

Farmers in many parts of regional NSW are reporting a drastic increase in mice populations, which are decimating crops, destroying stored hay and invading silos, sheds and homes.

The mice plague is also having a human health impact, with the NSW Western Area Health Service reporting increased cases of leptospirosis as a result of mice in domestic dwellings.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said grain growers hold grave concerns about the winter crop planting season, which is due to commence in coming weeks.

“Farmers need some more control options. We are requesting that an Emergency Use Permit be issued for Zinc Phosphide to treat seed,” Mr Jackson said.

“This will allow farmers to have their own grain professionally treated, removing the biosecurity risks posed by using foreign seed.”

“It will also reduce the cost of sourcing sterilised or de-vitalised grain by farmers using their own treated seed to be sown for winter cropping.”

Mr Jackson said NSW Farmers is also seeking some financial assistance through a small grants program.

“Mouse control is very costly. The severity of the current plague has resulted in the need
for multiple aerial and ground bait applications in cropping regions.”

“Potential options we are putting up include a rebate on rodenticide products or a subsidy for ground and aerial baiting.”

“Action is needed now. This mice situation is only getting worse. Mice damage reports coming in from farmers and rural communities from the north, south and central west are increasing significantly.”