FARMERS enjoying a well-earned holiday in WA's South West this month were reminded of maintenance work awaiting when they return to their properties at post harvest fumigation and monitoring workshops hosted by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The workshop's were presented by the GRDC's grain storage expert Ben White and the Department of Agriculture and Food's (DAFWA) biosecurity officer Jeff Russell at the Dunsborough Tavern and Augusta Hotel on Friday, January 13.
Mr White said hot weather provided ideal conditions for successful fumigation and phosphine remained the most reliable fumigant.
"Total fumigation time can be up to 17 days in order to kill the whole life cycle so those eggs and pupae will hatch and then be killed," he said.
"The heat basically is the instigator of insect development and it all happens a lot faster if the temperature is warmer which is why I say fumigate now.
"At this stage there's no cheaper alternative than phosphine, and in WA we're lucky in that we don't have a lot of resistance compared with the eastern States.
"We've had two outbreaks of phosphine resistance over the past year with the flat grain beetle and the rust-red flour beetle."
Mr White said hygiene was a major issue, and recommended grain growers prioritised cleaning up spills.
"Hygiene has to include any organic materials, so if you've got grass or a piece of timber or whatever lying around clean all that up and don't provide pests with a habitat," he said.
He reminded growers to ensure silos were maintained.
"The pressure relief valve is often overlooked and 95 per cent of the time when I do a silo pressure test I find that the oil valve hasn't got any oil in it - that's the most common problem in WA," Mr White said.
Mr Russell said DAFWA had released several smartphone applications to help grain growers diagnose and report pest problems, including the MyPestGuide which can be downloaded from the DAFWA website.