How to keep rodents out of your combine

As temperatures drop and rats and mice seek out warmth and safety for winter, farmers are being warned about the importance of safeguarding stored machinery against rodent damage.

Ken Black, Bayer’s business manager for rural hygiene, says overwintered machinery is an area that is often overlooked in farm baiting programmes.

“High-value machines such as combine harvesters are the perfect place for rodents to find food, and they also provide an undisturbed harbourage. Protecting sophisticated wiring and electronic systems, which are prone to gnawing damage by rodents, is clearly vital if costly repairs are to be avoided.”

Mr Black advises farmers – where possible – to make sheds secure to stop rodents getting in. Also, tailings elevators and stone-traps should be cleaned out as well as obvious areas such as the tops of the rear axle.

“Choice of bait is also important,” he adds. He advises using blocks, such as Bayer’s second-generation rodenticide Rodilon soft blocks (difethialone), which can be secured in place with wire. “Bait needs to be accessible to rodents, but not impact on non-target species,” says Mr Black. Bait blocks should never be placed loose, though, he says.

After cab wiring was damaged by rodents on his John Deere combine, Mike Dennis from Norfolk-based farmers and contractors MP Dennis and Sons, works hard on preventing it happening again. “You’ve got to do all you can to safeguard your machinery. We ensure the premises is kept maintained at all times, removing all potential rodent hiding places. We also now bait our machinery inside and out”.

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