Bumper harvest to put pressure on storage best practice
GroundCover™ Issue: 125 Nov - Dec
As the winter season harvest progresses, grain storage specialist Peter Botta is making a last-minute call to urge everyone to apply best practice to storing grain on-farm. Mr Botta has been running workshops and field days in the southern region and speaking with a large number of growers about temporary storage options given the likelihood of a big harvest.
He notes that many growers have been considering their storage options, given current low wheat prices. He says that because of seasonal conditions, growers need to consider the potential for mice numbers to build after harvest and the implications if using ground dumps, bunkers, silo bags and even sheds.
“Careful site selection, making sure grain is placed into a well prepared, graded, compacted site, away from stubble and grass, will be essential,” he says.
“If mice numbers do build then temporary storage facilities where grain is on the ground will be vulnerable. Trapping and careful baiting of rodents will need to be considered. Where baiting is undertaken placement must ensure that the bait does not come into contact with grain.”
Mr Botta says good grain-hygiene practices include:
- removing weeds from the storage area;
- cleaning up spilt grain; and
- cleaning storage, harvesting and handling equipment and applying a structural treatment such as a diatomaceous earth product.
He says regular inspection of any facility is essential, particularly temporary storages as they can often be harder to control for insects and rodents. While grain spills are inevitable, minimising them – particularly in the paddock – is desirable to help limit food sources for rodents.
Mr Botta says that, where possible, grain to be stored longer than four months is best managed in permanent storage facilities such as silos: “While sheds are a permanent structure, they can be a challenge for rodent control. The coming storage period may require moving grain from temporary storage into permanent facilities as they empty. Cleaning out and applying a structural treatment before refilling is recommended.”
He says the bottom line is simply careful planning and preparation: “Grain storage will likely be a battle of the insects and rodents this harvest, so thorough planning and management is the key to beating them.”
0417 501 890
National Grain Storage Hotline 1800 WEEVIL / 1800 933 845