Visitors to Croptec today were challenged about the cost of rat and mice damage to farm machinery by Bayer Crop Science.
During Crotec, Bayer is launching an in-depth study into damage caused by these pests to a wide range of stored machinery.
Bayer is keen to see how big an issue this is. “Rodent damage to machinery is a serious issue for many farmers,” says Ken Black, rural hygiene manager at Bayer. “They’re often so pleased to see the end of harvest, that machinery is shut away without being cleaned properly, and this can attract rodents,” he says.
Ken will be talking to farmers at the event and getting their feedback via a bespoke questionnaire, aimed at finding out the extent of the problem.
“We’re aware it’s an issue for farmers, but we don’t know the full scale of the problem,” says Ken.
“We know that thousands of pounds worth of damage is made by rodents to machinery each year. 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. Large modern machinery provides plenty of areas for harbourage and nesting.
“As part of their natural behaviour, rats and mice gnaw, with stored machinery providing plenty of opportunites for this. Electrical cables, hydraulic hoses, control panels and even cab fittings are likely to be chewed,” says Ken.
“We want to know what damage has occurred, how much it has cost, and the further impact it’s had. For example, we’ll find out whether farmers have lost valuable days of harvesting as a result of damage to machinery,” says Ken. “This is one of the hidden costs.”
The survey will be handed out at Croptec, on stand, , and will be handed out at various events in every sector from now until the end of the year. Results will be published in 2016.
Farmers can also go online to fill out the survey by visiting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VPDPT5P