Tips for preventing insect infestation during fall grain storage
Proper preparation and care before and after you store your grain can prevent insect infestations. Here’s how:
Decide which bin you will use for each crop
- How you clean and prepare an empty bin depends on what type of crop you plan to store in it.
- Avoid using chemical insecticides, for example, malathion, on bins in which you plan to store canola or flax. These oilseed crops absorb malathion and the residue remains in the seed.
- When you plan to store cereal grains, there are several approved insecticides you can use to treat the interiors of empty grain bins.
Clean your bin thoroughly before harvest.
- Insects in grain bins feed on debris, dockage and leftover cereal grain.
- Clean the bin with high-pressure water or air, a heavy broom and/or a vacuum. Don’t forget to clean aeration systems.
When you add clean grain to the bin ensure the surface is level.
- Aeration is more effective when the grain pile is level.
- Grain is a very good insulator. If warm grain is stored and left undisturbed, convection currents can develop and cause hot spots and condensation.
Bring the temperature of the grain down to 18°C as soon as possible.
- If you lower moisture content below 14.5 % and cool the grain below 18°C you can prevent stored-grain insect pest problems.
- Most stored product pests do not feed or reproduce below 18ºC.
- Grain bulks that are stored above 14.5 % moisture content can develop heated regions.
- Heat encourages fungal growth. Fungi and heat attract insects to stored grain.
Monitor the temperature of stored grain and aerate the grain bulk.
- Check the temperature of the bin every 2 weeks. Aerate stored grain as soon as possible after harvest particularly if aeration can reduce the bulk temperature below 18°C.
- When the ambient temperature falls below that of the grain bulk (during the early evening, night and early morning), you can use aeration to reduce the temperature of the grain.
- Aeration systems preserve stored grain and keep it dry by reducing the temperature of the grain and reducing moisture migration.
- Always ensure that temperature fronts have moved fully through the grain bulk prior to stopping the aeration.
If you need to temporarily store grain temporarily, give consideration to:
- If grain is stored on the ground, ensure the ground is hard and the site is convex.
- Determine if there’s a need to manage grain temperature/moisture in temporary storage and how it will be accomplished.
- If grain is stored on the ground, cover the grain as best possible.
- If silo bags are used, regularly check and maintain the integrity of the bag.
- Move temporarily stored grain into bins as soon as possible.
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