A vole peeks out of a burrow into an orchard with fruit trees – illustrative photo.
Olomouc – The chairman of the Těšetice Agricultural Cooperative in Olomouc, Petr Kopecký, considers the decision of the Ministry of the Environment (MŽP) to provide farmers with a contribution of 500 crowns per hectare for the targeted elimination of overpopulated voles to be a completely inadequate measure. According to Kopecký, it is necessary to allow widespread extermination of overpopulated voles, otherwise ZD Těšetice will incur millions of dollars in damage again this year due to these rodents. “If they didn't give us extraordinary permission for a widespread application, then it (the Ministry of Agriculture's contribution to targeted liquidation) is completely useless,” Kopecký told ČTK.
According to Kopecký, 5,000 to 7,000 active holes with voles can be counted on one hectare of field in the vicinity of Těšetice, and in the most affected areas there are even 10,000 of them. On average, there is one per square meter. In a targeted application, several granules of poison are inserted into each burrow, which kills the voles. “They can easily give me 2,000 crowns per hectare, but how are we going to do it with this number of holes? It's an alibis,” Kopecký commented on the decision of the MoE.
When voles and mice proliferated in Moravia in 2019, according to Kopecky, eight employees of ZD Tešetice managed to treat only about 12 hectares of fields in a targeted manner in eight hours. “However, we now need to solve 500 hectares within five days. It is absolutely desperate,” said Kopecký, according to whom the threshold of damage is 300 active burrows per hectare. “We have about sixteen times as many. Every square meter, there is one and a half to one hole with a live vole,” he said.
According to Kopecký, the vultures in the vicinity of Těšetice managed to destroy a significant part of the 25 hectares of fields with winter rapeseed. “We don't have anything from rape there anymore, we will plow it,” he said. Alfalfa stands are also damaged, voles overpopulation are a serious threat to spring crops. In 2019, ZD Těšetice lost a harvest worth seven million crowns due to the overabundance of rodents, this year the damage may be even higher. “When hail comes, it's natural and there's nothing you can do about it. But I can at least get insurance for it. Not for rodents,” Kopecký added.
Farmers can apply for subsidies from Monday 6 March, with the contribution to be used for work related to vole eradication. Two preparations, Stutox II and Ratron GW, are allowed in the amount of ten kilograms per hectare, which are applied to burrows. A group of Agrospol employees from Knínice u Boskovic will probably go to the field on Tuesday to put poison in vole burrows to exterminate them. “It's starting to put pressure on us in some places. It's not a widespread problem yet, but there are enclaves where they are already there and they're destroying alfalfa and grain. Many times you don't even have to go deep into the field, you can see it from the road,” said the director of Agrospol from Knínice near Boskovic Ladislav Menšík.
Voles last caused extreme damage to farmers in 2019, mostly in southern Moravia. At that time, the Central Agricultural Inspection and Testing Institute allowed the large-scale spreading of Stutox II poison on the fields, but the Ministry of Agriculture suspended the validity of the permit after a wave of criticism. Critics of the blanket measure object that the poison will poison not only the voles but also other herbivores or predators and beasts that eat the poisoned voles.