Go-to guidelines for correct treatment of grain in storage

Author: | Date: 22 Jul 2019

image of fumigation best practice
The GRDC’s Grain Storage Extension Project team has developed a set of guidelines to support growers in their endeavours to adhere to fumigation best practice. Photo: Chris Newman, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Grain Storage Extension Project team has developed a set of guidelines to support growers in their endeavours to adhere to fumigation best practice.

The team says correct treatment is imperative in ensuring grain remains free of pests during storage on-farm and chemical residues are avoided.

Grain storage expert Philip Burrill says implementation of simple, standard measures will eliminate the risk of rejection of deliveries – and potential fines – and will protect human and livestock health, as well as important grain markets.

“Correct fumigation of grain in storage is really non-negotiable,” Mr Burrill says.

“It is not onerous for growers to implement best practice, yet the implications of poor practice can be extremely costly.”

The following are examples of good practices to reduce phosphine residue and therefore rejection of deliveries:

  • Get in the habit of checking grain in storage each month for pests and quality. This eliminates the risk of nasty surprises when it comes time to outload grain for sale and being tempted to perform a poor, rushed fumigation;
  • Keep up-to-date monthly storage records of grain inspections, pests detected and grain treatments applied;
  • Have clear procedures understood by all on the property of how fumigation and venting is to be undertaken according to the label, the correct dose rates, and which silos can be used as they need to be gas-tight sealable;
  • Plan ahead for grain fumigations – allow up to 27 days for exposure + ventilation + withholding period depending on temperature and method as stated on the phosphine label.

The following are examples of poor practices:

  • Don’t fumigate in the truck – it is not gas-tight / sealable, it is difficult to vent, it is illegal and dangerous to the operator and the public;
  • Do not mix tablets in with the grain – the tablet dust can be toxic to stock if grain is fed, and when grain is moved tablet dust can release more phosphine gas; avoid tablet residues in the grain;
  • Do not add water to tablets – it is dangerous and it also releases all the gas too quickly to be effective against insects; it is illegal.

More information on effective treatment of grain in storage is available on the GRDC Stored Grain Information Hub

Growers unclear of best practices and good procedures for on-farm fumigations should contact the GRDC Grain Storage Extension Project team on 1800 WEEVIL or attend a storage workshop.

The GRDC Grain Storage Extension project team is conducting a series of storage workshops across Australia over the coming months, with each workshop tailored according to regionally-relevant grain commodities. Details can be found on the Stored Grain Information Hub at www.storedgrain.com.au for details.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Philip Burrill, GRDC Grain Storage Extension
1800 933 845 or 0427 696 500


Sharon Watt, GRDC
0409 675 100

GRDC Project code: PRB00001