Australia – Millions of rats have invaded North Queensland’s sugarcane fields and destroyed crops

(ORDO NEWS) — Sugarcane farmers in the North Queensland town of Ingham are facing serious problems as rodent populations overgrow and destroy a valuable crop.

Some farmers call the damage to the Herbert region the worst they have ever seen. But managing native species is different from pest control, and farmers say they need more support to protect their livelihoods.

“We’re seeing significant damage,” said Lawrence Di Bella, manager of Herbert’s Cane Productivity Services.

“In the beginning it will be small cuts or bites, and then we see that within two weeks the crops go from healthy to nothing.”

“Crops are disappearing before our eyes.”

As cane fields shrink, so does the profit that sugarcane farmers were going to make from what was to be a record harvest.

Rats destroy the plant with just a few bites, as they cause it to rot from the inside, says cane grower Greg Erkilla.

“The cane will start to deteriorate,” he says. “Eventually it will turn sour, and that will lower the sugar content of the cane.”

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