Friday, October 20, 2017

Ensure grain is protected against pests in storage

October 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

James Wilson next to the grain elevator

With all the investment that goes into growing cereal crops, now is the time to ensure that pests don’t jeopardise grain quality and yield while it is in storage.

“If your grain is rejected due to pest damage in store, this could result in a substantial cost of up to £50 per metric tonne,” says Richard Jenner, from grain supply partner, Openfield. “It doesn’t take too many loads costing over £25 per metric tonne to erode the contract value overall.”

While grain store cleaning ahead of harvest is crucial, some growers are now taking an extra precautionary step and treating grain as it comes into store, to ensure it retains quality, says Ken Black, rural hygiene manager for Bayer.

Food chain

K-Obiol ULV6 from Bayer and distributed by Lodi UK is one of the few insecticides approved for use in malting and brewing by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). It will also be accepted in milling wheat that goes directly into the food chain.

“Treating the harvested crop as it comes into the store after it has been cleaned and dried, is an extra insurance measure, ensuring every grain is protected against pest damage, especially for those farmers that are storing their grain for longer, as it will remain protected for up to 12 months.”

One farmer who has found success with this method is James Wilson, partner at HA Day and Sons. “We used to see a variety of grain store pests, depending on the year. We did fumigate for them, but the costs involved were very high, and despite using all control measures, we’d still find insects.”

Pitfall traps

Mr Wilson says he started applying K-Obiol ULV6 five years ago to protect milling grain against damage. “We monitor for insect activity in the stores using pitfall traps, and we haven’t seen a single one since we started treating the grain,” he explains.

Implementing this ULV application system has also helped Mr Wilson’s business to expand. “We now store and treat over 6,000 tonnes of grain, that includes the wheat and barley that we store for other farmers too.”

While K-Obiol ULV6 is best used to prevent pest infestation, Mr Wilson says it has enabled him to set up a facility where he can also treat loads that are contaminated with pests.

It is best to implement an integrated pest management programme for the best approach to pest control,” says Mr Black. “Ensuring your grain is as dry and cool as possible, preferably below 10°C is one of the most important steps to minimising pest activity.”

It is also essential to be accurate when dosing grain. This ensures the success of the treatment. So too does being appropriately trained. A City and Guilds PA12 certificate should be obtained in the application of any pesticide spray via a conveyor.

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