THE Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) wants growers to be meticulous about grain hygiene to reduce numbers of stored grain pests this harvest.
GRDC regional program manager Darren Hughes said prevention was better than cure when it came to controlling pests in stored grain.
“Grain residues in or around storages, or older grain stocks held over from last season provide ideal breeding sites,” he said.
“As little as one bag of infested grain can produce more than one million insects during a year, which can travel to other grain storages where they will start new infestations.
“Successful grain hygiene involves completely removing of all waste grain from storages and equipment including headers, augers, storage facilities and old grain bags.
“Growers need to keep these areas clean, remove sites where insects can shelter and mow weeds around storages.”
Dr Hughes said that as well as cleaning up before harvest, growers should embark on a cleaning program straight after harvest – to prevent facilities becoming infested with pests.
He said the best way to get rid of all grain residues involved a combination of sweeping; vacuuming; compressed air; blow/vacuum guns; pressure washers; and fire-fighting hoses.
“After finishing the cleaning program, grain storages and handling equipment can be treated with a structural treatment such as Dryacide, applied either as a dust or a slurry, particularly if there has been an infestation,” Dr Hughes said.
Stored grain should also be checked regularly for insect pests – at least every four weeks but fortnightly during warm weather, especially if there is no aeration on the storage.
More information about grain hygiene is available in the GRDC grain storage fact sheet Hygiene and structural treatments for grain storages.
Dr Hughes said growers should use the harvest period to plan their future grain storage system requirements.
This could help them identify issues and opportunities for future harvest operations that could otherwise be forgotten once next year’s crop cycle got underway.
“An excellent publication which outlines the pros and cons of various storage types is the GRDC booklet Grain Storage Facilities – Planning for efficiency and quality.
“This booklet includes a ‘slick storage setups’ section with case studies of storage layouts used by growers around Australia.”
The booklet, hygiene fact sheet and a range of other GRDC information about maintaining grain quality during storage can be found at www.grdc.com.au or on the GRDC stored grain extension website www.storedgrain.com.au