RATTOFF® Zinc Phosphide Bait Sachets are now finally available to all cane growers to help control the rats in their crops.
After five years of R&D and testing under emergency and experimental permits the APVMA has now registered RATTOFF® for routine use by the cane industry.
ACTA’s R&D Manager Michelle Smith explained that the development of RATTOFF® was successful due to the close collaboration between the sugar industry through the Cane Productivity Protection Boards (CPPB), Bureau of Sugar Experimental Stations (BSES), Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and ACTA.
“By working together we have found a solution to a major pest problem of the cane industry,” she said.
“Under the previous emergency use conditions, only a small number of Boards or merchants were permitted to stock RATTOFF® ZP sachets – now all stores and boards have access to the product,” she said.
Michelle described the breakthrough with RATTOFF® ZP is it’s mode of action as a fast acting or ‘acute’ rodenticide and its ability to control a high proportion of rats in a crop within a few days of application.
“An acute rodenticide means the poison controls the rodents within a few hours after being eaten compared to traditional anticoagulant poisons that may take up to a week for a rat to succumb – during which time they are still gnawing at the cane.”
She explained one of the other main benefits of RATTOFF® ZP is the greatly reduced risk of secondary poisoning of non-target animals and total lack of environmental residues.
“RATTOFF® ZP is ingested by the rat, the zinc phosphide in the bait reacts with the stomach acid and is converted to minute concentrations of toxin internally, the rats quickly succumb to heart and respiratory failure and usually go to their nests to die.”
Michelle said the toxins quickly degrade in the carcass so the risk of poisoning another animal is much reduced.
“Birds of prey have little risk of being poisoned with RATTOFF®, unlike the higher risk second-generation anticoagulants - which are not approved for use in crops due to their potential for secondary poisoning and ‘bioaccumulation’.”
ACTA’s Marketing Manager Paul Crock explained that new pack sizes for RATTOFF® include 2kg, 5kg and 10kg pails, and should now be available through leading resellers in all sugar areas as well as through the Cane Productivity Protection Boards.
“The new packs give farmers more flexibility in their control programs – especially for smaller properties or very localised rat infestations,” he said.
Before RATTOFF® ZP can be used in an area the local CPPB must verify the presence of rats to trigger a Damage Mitigation Permit for that area negotiated with QPWS. This overcomes the need for individual farmers to apply for separate permits for their crops and means that RATTOFF® is not used when there is no serious problem.
Paul explained CPPBs and BSES have skilled and experienced staff who can provide advice on identifying rat damage and ways to prevent and minimise rat infestations.
“There is a comprehensive rat management strategy for the cane industry that has been developed by BSES, QUT and CPPBs and we strongly support this approach. The use of RATTOFF® ZP is an important part of this IPM strategy and a free booklet is available from ACTA or suppliers to explain all rat management options in the IPM strategy,” he said.
He encouraged store agronomists to help farmers monitor crops for fresh rat damage and for signs of rat activity such as active holes, signs of runways and visible rats.
Paul explained that RATTOFF® ZP Sachets are registered for controlling rats in cane crops and must not be used for any other purpose.
He said all leading rural reseller stores such as Landmark and CRT and NRI and most CPPB’s now have RATTOFF® available.
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