Farm Management

Got your harvesting and storage game plan ready yet?

Image credit: Barry Large

Grain harvest has begun in the northern states of Australia, so it’s time to plan your harvesting down south.

Jim Moran, Grains Biosecurity Officer, says that you need to use a multi-step game plan rather than a single play when it comes to hygienic grain storage.

“What are your tactics to minimise insect infestations and maximise quality control and saleability of your crop?,” asks Mr Moran.

“You’ll win or lose money depending on how well it is implemented,” he said.

Jim advises growers that it all begins now, before harvest with a thorough Spring clean inside, outside and around all grain storage.

“Completely remove spilled grain, soil, weeds, plant residues and other material that may harbour insects.

“All machinery and equipment used to strip, transport, lift and store the grain also needs to be clean.”

Grain machinery and equipment should all be thoroughly cleaned before harvest with high pressure air or water, and then sprayed with a registered structural treatment at label rates. A popular structural treatment is a desiccant dust which is used instead of chemical structural insecticides which are also available.

“New infestations can arrive from the paddock with the freshly harvested crop, but there may also be insects in the equipment that will simply re-infest the new harvest if not treated now,” said Mr Moran.

The other key elements in your winning storage hygiene game plan include:

  • Applying the appropriate protectant insecticides directly onto the grain stream during augering into an empty, uninfested and treated storage.
  • Aeration of grain to quickly lower the temperature and slow the breeding of insects, lessen their ability to multiply, and increase your ability to control them.
  • Monitoring the condition of the stored grain regularly and being prepared to take remedial action if required with the most appropriate and effective treatment option.
  • Have any insects properly identified and send them to an appropriate laboratory for phosphine and protectant chemical resistance testing.
  • Only fumigate in sealed, gas-tight storages that you have pressure tested to confirm they are gas-tight. Treat for the volume of the storage (not the amount of grain in the storage), and allow the fumigant to act for the full time stated on the label to make sure the treatment is effective.
  • ALWAYS READ THE LABEL before using any agricultural product and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit.
  • Get advice. There are many printed, on line, social media and people to advise on how to successfully store grain. Ask around and use the best tactics for your system.
  • If you see anything unusual, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

For a free hard copy of the Monitoring stored grain on farm booklet or the Biosecurity Manual for Grain Producers, contact Jim Moran at DEDJTR Bendigo on 03 5430 4479.

For more information and tips on how to implement farm biosecurity on your property go to the Grains section of the Farm Biosecurity website; or visit the Grains Research and Development Corporation web site grdc.com.au and search for ‘storage’.

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