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The 2016 introduction of rodenticide stewardship has led to rat bait being widely used by professional pest controllers now being made available to stewardship-certified farmers.

Romax Rat CP is one of a number of products authorised for use in outdoor open areas, as defined by the stewardship regime.

Where open area baiting is justified under regime guidelines, supplier Barrettine claims its palatability, high efficacy and low risk to non-targets make it a responsible, effective option for certified farmers.

Over a five-day feeding period on a weight-consumed comparison, tests identified equal efficacy to the ultra-potent second generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR) brodifacoum, according to general manager David Shelton.

David said: "In contrast with the long persistence of SGARs, the active ingredient in Rat CP is metabolised rapidly within the rat's digestive tract.

"So any raptor that takes a rat killed or dying from this bait is exposed to very low or negligible levels of active ingredient.

"In comparison to other anticoagulants, this results in the lowest toxicity to raptors on the market."

The bait formulation is a 100g pasta-baked soft block, inside a paper sachet.

David says this combination appeals to a rat's natural behaviour to chew, while the block can be attached or skewered to a baiting point, preventing availability to non-target species.

Under compulsory application of stewardship's risk hierarchy, defined by the stewardship regime's Code of Best Practice, the product group that includes Romax Rat CP is recommended ahead of SGARs, unless defined exceptional circumstances apply.

Barrettine distributor Steve Cash of JDS Supplies has a number of farming clients where game bird rearing pens require effective rodent control.

He said: "Under a risk hierarchy based protocol, of course, this led to Rat CP being used at the main pheasant breeding unit at Pickering and other shoots under their management.

"On other clients' shoots likewise, this is exactly the holistic approach we advise, with consistently good results and low risk to wildlife."