Research reveals UK farms are plagued by rodent problems

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Over three-quarters of UK farmers have experienced rodent issues on their farms, a recent survey by the leading pest control solutions manufacturer BASF has revealed.

The research, which aimed to gain a greater understanding of current rodent control measures and rodenticide usage on farms, has discovered that 84% of those surveyed have faced problems with rats, house mice or field mice over the past year.

Despite this, over half were unaware if their farm was in an area of known rodenticide resistance, suggesting that farmers may unknowingly be helping with the spread of “super rats” in their area that are resistant to certain anticoagulant poisons.

Laurence Barnard, country business manager for Professional & Specialty Solutions at BASF, said: “We all know that rodents have long been an issue for farmers, with the perfect combination of attractive food sources, a plentiful supply of water and harbourage making farms the ideal environment for rats and mice to infest.

“Sadly, our recent research suggests that many farmers are still struggling to prevent and control infestations on their sites. It’s really important that something is done to act on these findings and encourage the farmers to improve rodent control on their farm before the problem gets worse.”

The survey revealed that 40% of respondents believe rodent control has got more difficult in the past year, with many reporting that they felt this was largely due to rodenticide resistance.

Promisingly, though, the data suggests that awareness of the issue is increasing, with the number of those unaware if their farm is in an area of rodenticide resistance having decreased by 25% compared to last year.

This follows the launch of BASF’s virtual digital pest control training portal Real Results Virtual Farm last year, which aims to encourage farmers to gain CPD points for pest control before completing the CRRU Safe Use of Rodenticides certification.

Mr Barnard said: “At BASF, we believe chemical control should be a last resort, and are committed to working closely with farming communities to educate people about rodent behaviour and best practice, as well as effective environmental management, to minimise the chance of an infestation, which is one of the reasons we launched Real Results Virtual Farm.

“The fact that this year, fewer farmers are unaware of rodenticide resistance is a promising sign.”

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With more than 25 years' experience in business-to-business publishing, Simon is editor of LBM titles Pest and OvertheCounter. Big fan of Manchester United.