An industry study into how much rodent damage costs farming businesses, especially in relation to stored farm machinery, is being launched at Cereals 2015, which is taking place at Boothby Graffoe, near Lincoln, today and tomorrow.
Organised by Bayer, the study will be continued at various other events throughout the summer, with the results being published at the end of the year.
“Rodent damage to machinery is a serious issue for many farmers,” said Bayer’s rural hygiene manager, Ken Black, adding that farmers were often so pleased to see the end of harvest, that machinery is “shut away without being cleaned properly”, thereby attracting rodents.
He admitted, however, that the full scale of the problem remained unknown, although it definitely runs into “thousands of pounds” worth of damage.
“For instance, combines that are shut away for eight months of the year attract rats and mice as they are often stored in buildings that are undisturbed and contain grain and straw left over from harvest,” he said. “As part of their natural behaviour, rats and mice gnaw, with stored machinery providing plenty of opportunities for this.”
The company is hoping that by talking to farmers at Cereals and other events, and getting their feedback via a bespoke questionnaire, it will be possible to put an accurate figure on the so far “hidden costs” of rodent damage.
Headline image shows the Cereals 2015 site at Boothby Graffoe