So the said...

Wayne Obst, James Rackham, Graeme Mann, Don Thompson, Catriona Nicholls, Greg McDonald, Justin Howard

Ground Cover caught up with seven growers at the conference, and here are some of their thoughts on storage and related issues.

Wayne Obst from Mingenew (WA) grows wheat, white lupins and canola, and stores about 700 tonnes of grain in sealed storages.

He says sealed storage is not difficult or time-consuming to maintain in good condition. He regards half an hour of maintenance time per bin per year as a good investment. However, Mr Obst is critical of complex instructions accompanying storage chemical treatments.

This view is shared by James Rackham from Crystal Brook (SA). He grows cereal and pulses and can store about 500 tonnes of grain in vertical silos. He says labelling instructions are hard to interpret and if for legislative reasons they have to stay this way, there should be a simplified version as well.

Graeme Mann, Quambatook (Victoria) cereal, pulse and oilseed producer, says growers need to be able to see for themselves the benefits of sealed storage and safer grain fumigation procedures. He advocates on-farm storage demonstrations at events such as the Birchip field days, farm chemical user courses, and for phosphine users to be licensed as are the users of zinc phosphide for mouse control.

Don Thompson, Tincurrin (WA), has 2,500 tonnes of grain storage, most of it sealed. He cites the marketing advantages accruing from this investment and doesn't have difficulty in controlling insects in sealed storages "provided you keep them sealed".

Catriona Nicholls farms with husband Ian Herbert and the Herbert family near Forbes (NSW). She was surprised to learn of the extent of phosphine resistance in grain insects and suspects that the current labelling format is not encouraging best practice by farmers. "We heard at the conference that sealed silos are not much dearer, so farmers' perceptions about them have to be changed."

Wynyard (Tasmania) winter wheat and triticale producer Greg McDonald says that, in his area, the cooler climate limits insect problems in grain. Occasionally phosphine tablets are used and aeration equipment keeps "hot spots" in grain under check and, hence, insect activity.

Justin Howard and father Don are wheat, sorghum and pulse producers at Emerald (Queensland). They have about 400 tonnes of unsealed storage and while they have not yet experienced insect problems, Justin says he will now look at the merits of sealed storage. He also joined the call for chemical labelling to be more easily understandable.

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