UPDATED: This post about keeping critters off farm equipment was updated to reflect new information. We hope you find it useful!
Are you including critter control in your machine maintenance plan? You should be.
Rodents can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Not only do they eat your feed and have the potential to transmit disease, but they also chew on electrical wiring and equipment.
Damage to that equipment means downtime, too, and time is money. In some cases, rodents chewing on wires have caused electrical failure and fires.
Your barn, poultry house, or garage is likely a comfortable place for rodents to make their home, yet damage caused by rodents might not be covered by your insurance.
Here are 10 ways you can establish an effective rodent control plan:
1. Know the culprit. Examine evidence left behind, such as droppings (mice will leave rice-size droppings; rat droppings will be more the size of raisins.) Once you know which species you’re trying to control, you can narrow down which bait to use.
2. Install bait stations every 100 feet around the perimeter of your building and around any feed bins. Use products according to label. Do not leave bait stations or traps inside the equipment cab or you will risk having a rodent die inside the cab! Secure all bait in a tamper-resistant bait box.
3. Clear out brush and remove fence rows around your property so that rodents are less likely to seek shelter at your place.
4. Clean the barn, sheds, garage, shop…any place you store farm equipment or machinery. Leave no debris that would offer shelter for critters.
5. Store feed and seed properly and leave none exposed.
6. These tips from Penn State Extension can help keep birds and their corrosive droppings away from your equipment.
7. Use an air compressor to clean your farm equipment and machinery. Even the smallest grain of corn left behind will attract rodents.
8. Products such as Fresh Cab, Ramik Green Nuggets, and Just One Bit bars can help repel rodents. Place these products near any water sources and near farm or shop machinery (again, not inside the cab). Keep these products away from pets and children!
9. Some tractor forums suggest placing fabric sheets inside the cab of your tractor, yet others have found mice use the sheets as a nesting supply. The previously mentioned products, made specifically to deter critters, may work more reliably.
10. Inspect your property and outbuildings and seal any obvious access holes wherever possible. Install door sweeps wherever possible.