AUSTRALIAN farmers are devastated after millions of rats devastated their crops.
Sugar cane farms in North Queensland are experiencing a rodent infestation that has disrupted what was set to be a record year.
Millions of rats are found in sugar cane crops in Queensland, AustraliaPhoto credit: Foxearth Farm
The rats have destroyed huge cropsCredit: Lawrence DiBella
Photos of rats in the sugar cane harvestCredit: Lawrence DiBella
Terrifying images show the rodents clinging to every plant in sight as they search for food.
As a result, vast amounts of sugar cane crops were decimated by the ravenous and rapidly multiplying rats.
The plague is widespread in the Herbert River Valley, Townsville, about 960 miles north of Brisbane.
Lawrence Di Bella, a local farmer, said: “Within two weeks entire fields will disappear.
“It’s the worst rat year I’ve seen in my career in the industry.”
This year’s epidemic has parallels with the 2021 mouse plague that swept the east coast of Australia.
In a single year, a rat can produce 460 offspring.
And a good harvest means a feast for the rats.
Di Bella said: “You can see the paddock is alive.
“Everywhere in the fields you see small animals jumping up and down.”
In what is set to be one of the best years on record for sugarcane farmers, landowners are now tearing their hair out as they consider what to do next.
While setting poison traps is a method of exterminating pests, it is treated as a last resort to kill the rodents.
The venom can kill any predator eating the rat carcasses, which could wipe out native species.
Weeding and removing grass near the fields is a less effective measure, but it will starve the rats of necessary nutrients.
Farmers’ best hope is a significant rainy season to kill as many rats as possible.
Queensland has suffered from plagues in the past, last year a man woke up to a mouse chewing on his hand.
In 2021, a farmer found a mouse chewing on his wife’s eyeball.
A rat can produce 460 offspringCredit: Alamy
Australia has faced many rodent plagues in the past, including a large one in 2021Photo credit: NSW Farmers