Although grain growers have had their sights firmly focused on sowing 2016’s winter crops, they are being advised not to take their eyes off grain held in on-farm storage.
Aeration and pest prevention must remain front of mind for those growers who have stored grain from the 2015 harvest. Grain storage specialists encourage growers to check storages regularly to ensure grain quality is maintained.
Development agronomist Philip Burrill, who is involved in the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Grain Storage Extension Project, says the combination of good storage hygiene and grain aeration provides growers with powerful tools to maintain grain quality and reduce pest problems.
“Grain temperatures below 20°C significantly reduce mould and insect development, including the additional benefit of cool aerated grain protecting planting seed’s germination and vigour,” said Mr Burrill. “Aeration cooling may not eliminate the need to fumigate pests but it will dramatically slow insect development and reduce the number of years insects are a problem.”
Mr Burrill, who is employed by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, said well-managed aeration cooling, combined with effective grain hygiene, could overcome 70 percent of pest problems.
Without aeration, grain is an effective insulator and will maintain its warm harvest temperature around 30°C for many months – ideal conditions for pests to breed.
“Stored grain should be monitored monthly for pests, quality and temperature. When it comes time to sell grain that has been in storage, the last thing you want is a nasty surprise by finding the grain is infested with insect pests.”