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Growers and grain store managers can reduce the risk of rejected loads and contract shortfalls thanks to a new Grain Protectant Handbook. More than... How to protect your stored grain and preserve profits

Growers and grain store managers can reduce the risk of rejected loads and contract shortfalls thanks to a new Grain Protectant Handbook.

More than 90% of farm grain stores harbour at least one species of insect – and last year’s challenging harvest makes it imporant to minimise potential losses caused by pest infestations in grain stores.

Published by Envu, the new guide aims to help growers protect stored grain and preserve profit.

It includes Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods and guides to identifying key pests and insecticide treatments.

Despite substantial investments in crop production and protection in the field, many farmers often overlook the importance of good grain storage management, says Envu account manager Ken Black.

Grain weeevil

“A few rejected loads can quickly erode the overall contract value, leading to further costs. In some cases, loads may not be rescheduled due to a lack of available windows, risking the fulfilment of a contract.”

Primary pests like the grain weevil will infest undamaged grains, says Mr Black. Meanwhile, secondary pests, such as the saw-toothed grain beetle, feed on the damaged pieces and dust left behind.

“Understanding the lifecycle of grain store pests is crucial to implementing cost-effective and efficient treatments. The guidebook puts that information at growers’ fingertips, alongside practical advice about how to deal with infestations.”

Monitoring can detect pests early and enable control through a combination of cooling, cleaning or drying. Pit fall traps, insect monitoring traps or nut-free bait bags are all effective ways to assess insect activity.

Effective trapping

Traps are up to ten times more effective than grain sampling at detecting low numbers of pests. Traps should be positioned 4-5 metres apart both on top of the grain surface and 5-10cm below the surface to target different insect and mite species.

Traps should be monitored weekly for pests until grain reaches a consistent temperature of 5°C, says the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. They should then be monitored monthly.

Record-keeping, either electronically or on paper, will illustrate due diligence and enable changes in grain condition to be readily identified. This can provide an early warning of potential problems

“Monitoring is essential,” says Mr Black. “It’s also important to monitor temperature and moisture levels, ideally keeping stores below 13°C and 14.5% moisture for cereals and 7-8% for oilseed rape.”

The Grain Protectant Handbook can be downloaded from uk.envu.com.