There has never been a rat infestation in Brazil, which threatens Australian crops in New South Wales, but the risk does exist, according to agricultural technician Levino Jose Bassi, who works in the technology transfer sector in Embrapa swine and poultry. Which responds to demands about rodents sent to the agency by producers since 2004.
Australia’s leading agricultural association in Australia’s most populous state estimates that the pest could cause more than A$1 billion (equivalent to US$775 million or R$3.9 billion) to winter crop crops. According to Levino, estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that each rat on a farm could cause a loss of US$10 per year.
Embrapa experts say there are more than 1,700 species of rats in the world, but the ones that are infecting Australia are rats, considered domestic rats, that are small, breed very quickly and live everywhere. Huh. “If they have food and shelter, a pair of rats produces 5,000 offspring in a year. And they start breeding in just 40 days. “
Levino says Embrapa has already received two or three daily demands to control or eliminate rats on rural properties, but quantities have dropped significantly in recent years as producers began to pay more attention. especially with the storage of grains, which are edible. Very attractive to rodents, and abandoned near sheds and homes with debris or unusable items that can serve as shelters for animals.
“For example, corn was very expensive to produce. Previously, production was more familiar, did not involve machines, fertilization, or seeds with technology. Today, the producer knows that he risks losing up to 20% of his expensive production The grain needs to be stored well in order not to lift.”
Photos of hundreds of rats coming out of harvesters in Australia have gone viral on the internet. One suggestion from an Embrapa technician is not to leave the harvester unattended for too long as it may contain grains that attract rats. “It is recommended to run the machine continuously and inspect the property twice a week to avoid rats.”
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Other suggestions for small rural growers are not to store corn on cobs, use metal silos and place grain bags on pallets above ground and away from walls. Levino says rats eat very little, about 2 grams at a time, but they do feed several times a day.
“A rat consumes about 10 grams a day, but it contaminates ten times more food and its feces, urine and hair can transmit more than 50 diseases to humans, such as typhus, bubonic plague, toxoplasmosis and hantavirus. Huh.” The estimated number of rats in Brazil is more than five per resident, but the number of sick people is not as large as, generally, a simple contact does not cause contamination.
In Australia, experts indicate that the overpopulation of the rat may be due to a prolonged drought. Levino says that, in fact, during very long periods of drought, the rat moves closer to buildings in search of food because it doesn’t have food in the bush. He recalls that, about two years ago, an infestation occurred after 30 days of drought in Concordia (SC).
One last tip from Embrapa’s expert to rural grower is to observe rats at night, with a flashlight, as these animals have nocturnal habits. “If you can see rats during the day on the property, it’s because the infestation is already high.”
Technician says he began studying the behavior and types of rats when he was challenged by a supervisor to respond to a demand for a small poultry slaughterhouse in Santa Catarina, which, due to a lack of population controls, lost its federal oversight. The seal was about to be lost. Mice “I started reading and researching this topic and today we have Sack to answer the manufacturers’ questions.”
Australian officials estimate there are millions of rodents in the agricultural plains of New South Wales and say there will be a major economic and social crisis if the pest is not greatly reduced. The risk is that the rats will eat the state’s winter crops, such as wheat, barley and canola, before they are harvested.
According to a local website, farmers who have had to deal with fires, floods and now droughts report that rats are invading homes and roofs and the situation gets worse at night, when rats become active . During the day, stretches of road laden with rats the night before were crushed. Reports of contaminated water keep coming, but the biggest complaints of farmers are the persistent smell of rat urine and rotting meat.
The state government set aside a fund of $210 million to support farmers and even ordered 5,000 liters of a super-powerful and prohibited poison from India, but its use is yet to be authorized by the federal government. Because it can kill other animals. It is expected that the arrival of winter and an increase in the number of predators will eliminate the pest, but experts do not guarantee that this will happen.