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Long Term Solution Needed to Control Rats in Sugarcane - Warns the NRA

NRA 00/11 25 October 2000

A long-term solution is needed for the rat problem in North Queensland's sugarcane crop according to Peter Raphael, the NRA's Executive Manager of Agvet Chemical Registration.

'While I am pleased that the NRA has been able to help sugarcane growers deal with the current rat plague by issuing two emergency use permits for restricted poisons, this is really only a temporary measure.' Mr Raphael said.

'It is imperative that the sugarcane industry work with chemical manufacturers to develop effective and safe alternative chemical products and methods of application that can be registered with the NRA for long-term use.' He said.

'Future registration of chemical products for rat control will rely, in part, on monitoring data collected during the life of these emergency use permits. Use of products other than those specified in the permits during this time could severely compromise these data and delay the availability of regular control options.' Mr Raphael said.

'The NRA also welcomes moves currently underway within the sugarcane industry to develop Integrated Pest Management options to help reduce the likelihood of high rat populations developing and the reliance on chemical controls.'

Mr Raphael also sounded a note of caution over the use of the poisons covered by the emergency use permits, warning that they required careful handling. He highlighted the fact that both permits were conditional on prior attendance by users at a training course designed by the Bureau of Sugar Experimental Stations and the CPPB.

The NRA emergency use permits allow the use in the control of rats in sugarcane of an unregistered product consisting of zinc phosphide impregnated cereal grains in sachets and two registered Racumin products.