Sometimes the cleverest new technology is also the simplest. So it might seem with a wax block developed at CSIRO which may give farmers a major boost in the fight against insects in stored grain.
The wax block is impregnated with aluminium phosphide, which is slowly and continuously released into grain storage areas. "Controlled continuous release of phosphine gas is the most effective available way of dealing with insect infestation," according to project leader Colin Waterford of CSIRO Entomology.
More than 70 per cent of grain stored in Australian central grain storage systems is fumigated at least once annually with phosphine.
When available, the new product will have some major advantages over the existing range of aluminium phosphide formulations. "The wax block delivers the phosphine gas in a controlled way unlike existing preparations which react with moisture in the grain to produce the gas. It also avoids the problems of toxic powder residues after fumigation," Mr Waterford said.
The wax block follows previous research by Mr Waterford and colleagues into the measurement of phosphine concentrations following fumigation, which was supported by growers and the Federal Government through the GRDC.
The new technology currently is being trialed on commercial-scale fields to evaluate its performance in Australian conditions.
Contact: Mr Colin Waterford 02 6246 4204
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