A larger grain carryover than normal after last year’s bumper harvest is leading to hot spots in grain stores on some farms with the potential for insect infestation creating quality issues.
Ian Clayton-Bailey, sales director at Martin Lishman, said there is an increased number of grain hotspots this year. “This is mainly off the back of carryover from last year. There is quite a lot of carryover grain, 100 tonnes here, 200 tonnes there. Farmers put this year’s crop on top and that’s where problems arise. They need to be very vigilant with close inspection of those areas for insects and temperatures.”
Where there is carryover grain, the store is not cleaned and treated and the grain harbours insects which migrate into new crop warm grain when it is put on top, says Mr Clayton-Bailey.
While on many farms, stored grain temperatures are heading towards 10 degrees C and cooler weather is forecast, where temperatures are higher, ventilation may not be adequate, he says.
Where ventilation systems are activated manually, it is important to walk heaps of grain, take temperature readings, compare these with ambient temperature and activate fans when there is a difference. However, with farmers often focused on drilling at this time of year, turning fans on an off can sometimes get forgotten, says Mr Clayton-Bailey.
Alternatively, an automated grain temperature and fan control system such as his company’s Barn Owl Wireless can be used, he suggests. “An automatic system does everything and means the end of the necessity of measuring grain and ambient temperature and activating fans accordingly.”
As well as keeping an eye on temperature and moisture in stored grain, insect populations should also be monitored and traps are the best method, advises AHDB research and knowledge transfer manager Dhan Bhandari. “Keep monitoring insect traps and if you find an infestation use either fumigants or diatomaceous earth. Not all buyers accept it so if you plan to use it, check with buyers.”
Insects and mites
Source: AHDB Grain Storage Guide for Cereals and Oilseeds