Grain store preparation is one of the least glamorous jobs on an arable farm, although for one Oxfordshire grower it’s among the most crucial.
Investing significant time and money to produce tonnes of grain, only to see a proportion of it lost or downgraded to a lower-value specification due to poor grain store management is easily avoided.
Jim Calcutt, who grows about 440ha of wheat, oilseed rape and beans, likes to sell a proportion of his crop early, but also holds on to a large quantity in the hope of a higher price. It is therefore critical that he ensures his team makes a thorough job of cleaning the 4,000t of grain storage on his home farm at Hempton, near Banbury.
The key problems are insect pests such as grain weevils, grain beetles and grain borers. Rodents also need to be kept out of the store.
Mr Calcutt shows Farmers Weekly around his recently built 2,500t grain store with hardwood drying floor and gives some tips on reducing the risk of storage problems later in the year.
Clean all the debris off walls, stanchions, fan tunnel and other surfaces from roof level. Cracks and ledges should be inspected and cleaned to ensure there is no debris or loose grain that can harbour insect populations after last year’s crop until the next harvest comes in.
Once all unwanted debris is down at ground level, sweep up to one end of the store, collect and remove well away from the site for dumping or burning.
Where drying floors are installed, ensure all cavities are completely empty of grain and dust and in areas such as these, use sticky traps to detect and monitor insect populations.
Mr Calcutt has adapted a 400-litre Hardi ground sprayer to treat his stores. A telescopic lance with a wide-angle, high-output nozzle ensures rapid treatment and allows the operator to get to hard-to-reach places.
Mr Calcutt uses the recommended label rate of K-Obiol (deltamethrin), which is applied until it runs from surfaces and gives two months’ protection against the key insect pests, except mites. Mites only thrive in humid conditions, so ensuring grain is dried and cooled correctly will keep them out. In his older store, Mr Calcutt increases the water rate to better penetrate dust.
Good store hygiene is key to keeping out rodents such as rats and mice. Block potential access points and keep the area around the store clean and tidy. Only when activity is found – droppings, smearing and gnawing – should in-store bait be used. Remove bait when activity ceases to avoid non-target poisoning.
If insects were a problem in the previous year, or insects are found in traps, an insecticide treatment should be used. Treat as soon as possible after the store is emptied and apply to all surfaces, including the roof space. If no insects are present, a thorough clean may be sufficient.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/how-to-prepare-grain-stores-for-harvest)