GRAIN growers have been reminded to undertake appropriate hygiene measures for stored grain, with increased amounts of grain now being stored on-farm.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell said it was estimated about 12 per cent of WA’s grain was reserved on-farm for uses including seed for cropping, feed for livestock and warehousing with an eye on market opportunities.
“Growers need to be vigilant and carry out proper hygiene measures for stored grain,” Mr Russell said.
“Post-harvest, prior to the start of the new cropping season is a great time to thoroughly inspect and clean all harvest machinery, grain handling equipment and unused or empty silos.
“Grain pests can live in residual grain in harvesters, silos and augers, so they need to be inspected and thoroughly cleaned.
“Spilt grain around silos, in sheds and around harvest equipment should also be cleaned and disposed of on-farm by burial or spreading it out thinly in a location away from silos.”
Mr Russell said storage pests, moulds and moisture build up and need to be controlled as soon as detected, so regular checks of silos and scheduled monthly inspections when stored with grain were recommended.
He said poor grain hygiene could result in profits ending up as losses on the balance sheet.
“Grain insects are very small – once you can see insects crawling in a handful of grain, they may have already caused significant damage,” Mr Russell said.
“This can lead to downgrading of the quality of the grain and possible rejection by buyers and the viability of grain intended to be used at seeding may be affected.
“To detect early signs of infestation, take a grain sample from the top and bottom of the silo and sieve out a good portion to check for insects, otherwise low numbers of insects could remain undetected.
“Vigilance in checking for grain storage pests saves individual growers a lot of money and helps to maintain the reputation of Western Australia’s grains industries as a supplier of quality product in a competitive global marketplace.”