Following recent mild weather, AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds is urging growers to pay extra attention to grain store management in order to avoid costly rejections.
Weather since harvest may have compromised grain quality, with some grain cut damp and storage temperatures remaining relatively high, increasing the risk of infestation and ochratoxin A production for later marketed crops.
In order to help farmers optimise grain quality, AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds has produced a number of tools to help farmers monitor grain in store, to provide optimum samples and to aid record keeping.
According to AHDB, following its guidance can avoid costs of £20-£30 per tonne as a result of grain consignments failing to hit contract specification.
Weekly monitoring of moisture content and temperature throughout the life of the store is recommended.
Targets for drying and cooling grain are well established but not always easily achieved in practice, especially in mild weather. The Safe Storage Time Calculator will help to identify grain in most urgent need of attention.
The tool uses information entered on the moisture and temperature levels for stored grain to assess the risks from mould and mycotoxins development, loss of germination and the potential risk for attack by insects and mites.
It reassesses the risk each time farmers and storekeepers input new temperatures and moistures and takes into account the total storage history as the grain is monitored, showing the time in days until the risks become critical.
Ideally, representative samples will have been collected, tested, labelled with location, variety and tonnage.
These samples allow potential buyers to assess qualities including protein content, specific weight, Hagberg Falling Number and germination, depending on the end-use.
Where prior sampling has not taken place, many potential buyers will want to assess quality in-store. Such sampling is less likely to be representative of a given bulk than samples taken as the store is loaded.
It is also best practice to take and retain samples from each lorry load before it leaves the farm, which may help if disputes arise. For more, refer to the Grain sampling guide.
Record keeping, either electronically or on paper, will illustrate due diligence and enable changes in grain condition to be readily identified.
This may provide an early warning of potential problems. In addition, The Cereals Sellers’ Checklist is intended to help cereal sellers avoid the most common problems associated with cereals sales contracts.
For more information, visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk/grainstorage