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Time to Check Stored Grain

12 August 2011

AUSTRALIA - Growers storing grain on-farm are reminded to check grain regularly and thoroughly to avoid problems with insects and spoilage.

Peter Botta, PCB Consulting works across the high rainfall zones of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania on an extensive Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-funded stored grain extension program.

Mr Botta says now is the time to check on stored grain and plan for storage of grain from this year’s harvest.

He says CSIRO research shows that grain should be inspected for insect infestation regularly, and every four weeks is optimal.

Mr Botta says safety should be the primary consideration when working with silos.

Never enter a bin where fumigant has been used; inspecting grain at the surface is ideal and sampling grain with a probe will assist in detecting insects below the surface of the grain, he says.

“Sampling grain as during out-load for delivery and sieving for insects gives the grower greater confidence the grain is free of insects or indicates whether it needs to be treated if insects are present,” Mr Botta said.

“Keeping samples as a record of loads is good practice if ever they are needed for future reference.”

Mr Botta says HRZ growers should check for mould and insects and ensure the temperature is at the right level.

“Grain storage in the HRZ is similar to other areas but there is a likelihood that lesser grain borer will be a major pest,” he said.

“Humidity is also greater in these regions so aeration can be more difficult.”

He says aeration is important for maintaining grain quality and reducing insect pest activity.

The lesser grain borer is likely to be a pest problem for growers storing grain in the high rainfall cropping zones.

GRDC-supported research shows wheat at 12 per cent moisture content stored for six months at 30-35°C (unaerated grain temperature) will have reduced germination percentage and seedling vigour.

“Aeration controllers ensure dry cool air is pumped through the silo, something that is quite difficult to do when manually turning fans off and on. Units and storage facilities still need to be checked regularly,” Mr Botta said.

“Most controllers have hour meters fitted so run times can be checked to ensure they are within range of the expected total average hours per month.

“Check fans to ensure they are connected and operating correctly. The smell of the air leaving the storage is one of the most reliable indicators if the system is working or not.”

Mr Botta says the exhausted air should change from a humid, warm smell to a fresh smell once the initial cooling front has passed through the grain.

“Keeping grain at the right moisture and temperature levels will reduce the likelihood of insect infestations, but stored grain still needs to be sampled regularly and monitored for any changes,” he said.

“If possible, safely check the moisture and temperature of the grain at the bottom and top of the stack regularly.”


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