The profits from producing a crop should not be allowed to waste away in storage. Stored-grain Insects often cause as much loss after harvest as crop pests cause during the growing season. |
Stored-grain Insects are divided into primary pests that attack whole kernels and secondary pests that feed on broken or cracked grain. It has been estimated that between one quarter and one third of the world grain crop is lost each year during storage. Much of this is due to insect attack. In addition, grain which is not lost is severely reduced in quality by insect damage. Many grain pests preferentially eat out grain embryos, thereby reducing the protein content of feed grain and lowering the percentage of seeds which germinate.
Insect pests also increase costs to grain growers both directly through the expense of control on the farm, and indirectly through the costs incurred by grain handling authorities in controlling weevils in bulk storages. Six-Step Prevention and Control Program Step 1: Keep bins clean and repaired.
Never store new grain on old grain, mix it with old grain or store it in a dirty bin. Old grain and debris are the most important sources of Insects that attack new grain. Completely remove and burn all old grain, broken kernels and other debris. Clean anywhere spilled grain may have accumulated, including outside the bins, behind partitions, between walls and under floors. Fill any holes to prevent access by birds and rodents. Check the roof, as moisture from rain and snow can encourage insect development.
Clean harvest and grain-handling equipment before harvest. Avoid storing grain near feed storage, animal feeders or stables. These areas may be sources of grain-infesting Insects. Step 2: Use residual sprays.
After cleaning, treat all bin surfaces, including removable doors, behind partitions, and under floors, with an approved insecticide about two weeks before storing grain. The dosage will vary with the porosity of the surface being treated. Malathion may not be effective where Indian meal moth is a problem. Remove Insects killed by this treatment to avoid contaminating new grain. Step 3: Store clean, dry grain.
Moisture of corn should be less than 15 percent, while other grains should be at 12 percent or less. Minimize cracked kernels and other dockage. They allow some grain pests to build up at much lower temperatures than are required with whole grains. Step 4: Aerate.
Proper aeration of the grain ensures uniform temperatures and thus avoids moisture buildups that encourage mold development. Molds directly affect grain value. They also serve as alternate food sources for some grain pests, which increases the insect problem. Step 5: Protect the grain.
Insecticides may be used to treat grain as it is moved into storage. Check the label for proper dosages. These materials also may be used to treat the surface of the grain to provide a protective barrier against infestation. This barrier is broken whenever the surface is disturbed, such as during inspections for Insects. Re-treatment is recommended after inspections. Step 6: Inspect grain regularly.
If the grain mass is below 55 to 60 degrees F, inspect grain every two weeks. Above this temperature, inspect it weekly. This will detect new infestations early and avoid extensive damage.
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