– Worst Plague in 30 Years – Field Mice Overrun Farms in Central Germany (Der Spiegel, July 11, 2012):
Millions of field mice are overrunning the central German states of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, much to the concern of local farmers. The rodents are devastating food crops, cutting yields by up to 50 percent. Getting birds of prey to hunt the critters didn’t help, and now farmers want to be allowed to use a banned rat poison.
Under normal circumstances, you might think the 12-centimeter (5-inch) long field mouse looks innocent, or even cute. But farmers in the central German states of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt wouldn’t agree at the moment. The furry rodents are currently wreaking havoc in the states, which are suffering the worst field mouse plague in over 30 years.
Farmers in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt are complaining that millions of field mice are devastating their food crops, including corn, barley and winter wheat. “They are eating everything,” said Matthias Krieg, who manages an agricultural firm near the town of Zeitz in Saxony-Anhalt. “Not even the sugar beets are safe.” Farmers estimate that they may have to write off an average of 10 percent of their crops as a result of mouse damage, and up to 50 percent in extreme cases.