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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Rodent Control

I am a hay farmer (alfalfa) and we rotate our fields about every seven years. In the last few years, we are being overrun with rodents - gophers, mice, voles, and moles. The little rodents are ruining fields that are only a year old or two. We have tried different forms of poison, carbon monoxide, and propane/oxygen injection with explosion. All of these methods have been costly and we still have problems. The only time we seem to get rid of them is in a flood, but there hasn't been a flood for five years. Any suggestions?

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 08:52 AM
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Re: Rodent Control

Take your water tank for spraying and 22 and start filling the holes with water.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 09:36 AM
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Re: Rodent Control

What poisons have you tryed? Zinc phosphide? Zinc phosphide is an excellent small rodenticide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc_phosphide
My state is faced with severe limitations on useage of rodenticides and moluskicides. We have to be very carefull and make sure no non-target species are not harmed. Zinc phosphide, properly placed, seems to do that quite well. It has virtually no secondary kill and the initial kill is as humane and quick as possible. The vole/mouse will ingest the bait, go into the hole and die quickly. The carcass then becomes an organic fertilizer as the poison, once mixed with the acid in the stomache, escapes as a gas in extremely low volumes.

With an anticoagulant, the vole/mouse will take a lot of time to die. It may go into the hole and then come back out to die where a non-target species like a bird of prey may ingest the rodent. The anticoagulant poison is still active in the rodent for quite some time after ingesting the poison.

Anyway you look at it, the control of rodents will be expensive. Baits are usually well over a dollar a pound and a minimum of 10 pounds to the acre is required for control in a broadcast application. Enough bait has to be applied to insure a lethal dose. Mice/voles will become bait smart if a sublethal dosage is ingested. Usually this is avoided when there is enough bait available to the rodent. If you skimp on application rates to lower the cost, it will come back to bite you.

For the gophers, I know a lot of people locally and in areas that can still grow hay, have had great success using the Verminator.
http://allamag.com/theverminator/

Moles,.......I have no idea. We just trap them here as that is about the only sure way to know we got blasted buggers. In a landscape situation, there is a mole repelant that works very well. It is basically a dry for of castor oil. It is spread, then watered in. I have used it and it works very well. But in a large scale field application,.............not. I have also heard that moles dont like garlic. Of course most animals that eat hay, dont like it either I would'n think, so....... Other than trapping a mole, the only other option that I have been made aware of is repelants. Poison control of moles on a large scale I have no knowledge about.

I hope you can find some control as I know all too well being the perennial grass business what damage those blasted things can cause both to the yield and the equipment.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 04:12 PM
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Re: Rodent Control

I thought Oregon would have slightly more stringent pesticide rules than that.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 08:21 PM
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Re: Rodent Control

I thought Oregon would have slightly more stringent pesticide rules than that.

. I screwed that one up did'nt I? I actually proof read my reply, but I missed that one. My bad.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rodent Control

Thanks for the suggestions. We have used Zinc Phosphide at the 10 lb per acre rate and didn't really see any control on the mice population. One field was planted in the spring of 2008 and the mice moved in over the winter. In the late winter of 2009 and then late spring 2009 zinc phosphide was applied. This week we are plowing the field out. Ooch. Did we have bad luck with our phosphide or is this normal. We broadcasted it out of our fertilizer spreader and am positive we were at least 10 lbs per acre. Any other thoughts?
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 04:53 PM
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Re: Rodent Control

Fawazhay, all the above are effective, except for the moles. Moles are NOT rodents and don't even feed on the same things. Get rid of the rodents and you probably will never notice the moles, if you even have them.





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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 05:53 PM
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Re: Rodent Control

Well, how often do they go above ground? Someone could have some good target practice.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 10:19 PM
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Re: Rodent Control

Gophers are easy to shoot in the hole. If you are walking a field with a gopher issue, you can carry either a gun or a trap, or both. Once you walk up on a gopher digging, and you'll see it from several feet away, you can sneek up on them from down wind and as it pushes it's new diggin'z up to the surface, you can shoot it.
If the gopher hole is fresh, but no activity for 1 minute or so, set the trap and move to the next hole down the field a bit. Once you finish hunt'n gophers, go back to the traps you set in the fresh, open holes and 9 times out of 10 you'll have a live, but well trapped gopher. Dispose of in your own manner.

Boss went out trapp'n once and brought back 2 live trophys. Must've been 5 pounders or so. Barely fit in the trap arms. They were both males and oh boy did they fight. I had no idea that gophers even had a voice box, but they can make a racket. Gophers have functioning eyes and can see whats going on. A mole has no eyes, or at least most breeds dont. Gophers also have sharp and powerfull teeth, moles have none.

My dad, and other "old" folks, have a nack for shooting moles as well. They seem to know the pushing schedule of the moles. Often twice in 24 period. Once you know the pushing schedule, you can watch the "run" and when any soil disturbance starts, a close range shotgun blast will do it right on the moving soil.
I dont have the patients needed for hunting moles. I have trapped a few successfully. One other story from an old guy that was an expert mole killer. He would follow the runs of several moles in the same field. Once he found the "grand central station", he would dig down and place a glass gallon jar and then cover the hole with wood. The moles will try to repair their runs often and as they would come through this central station where many individual runs sprouted from, they would fall in the jar and could not escape. Often in a very active field, many moles would end up in the jar in just a 48 hour period.

Sometimes when hunting gophers with a gun, if you shoot them right at the hole, you may not find the carcass without a lot of digging as their hair is setup so that they can really slide through their tunnels.

Something that we have done in the past, and now that I think about it, we may start again, is to pay a bounty on the gophers and moles. For a few years we had a couple retired farmers that wanted to stay involved. We give them the keys to the honda and paid I think 6 dollars a carcass. This only lasted a few years as the retired guys started getting too imobile and too fragile they could no longer get around well enough to get out and trap. However, in a heavily infested field,.......I wonder if one can find a retired folk with the right skills or even a young kid with some ambition, maybe a bounty type pay would work??

One thing about a lot of moles, is that you know you have healthy soils with lots of worms.

But no, it is not typical to have no control of mice with zinc phosphide. Either the bait was bad, or something to that nature. It can certainly take 2 applications to gain a good amount of control. The real trick is to read up on the rodents you want to control. The gestation period of a field mouse is less than 25 days. Up to 10 pups and weaning in another 20 days or so. Females are sexually mature in about 6 weeks and males in 8. So you can imagine the birth rate in a good food supply, and the amount of control it will take to get things taken care of....temporarily.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Rodent Control

Thanks for the advice. I sure wish we could have a flood. Overall we have the worst problems with the mice. Since we had poor results with the zinc phosphide with two applications. How many applications do you think we need to make and how far between? Thanks.

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