Bar­rier against stor­age pests

AgLife - - News -

Grow­ers plan­ning to store grain in un­sealed stor­ages af­ter this year’s har­vest are be­ing en­cour­aged to con­sider us­ing grain pro­tec­tants to re­duce the risk of in­sect pest in­fes­ta­tions.

The use of pro­tec­tants com­bined with metic­u­lous hy­giene and aer­a­tion cool­ing are es­pe­cially use­ful in stor­ages which are not gas-tight and there­fore can­not be fu­mi­gated ef­fec­tively.

South­ern crop­ping re­gion grain­stor­age spe­cial­ist Peter Botta said grain pro­tec­tants were de­signed to pre­vent pest in­fes­ta­tions – not to control ex­ist­ing in­fes­ta­tions.

“A com­mon mis­un­der­stand­ing is that grain pro­tec­tants kill in­sects al­ready in­fest­ing the grain, but those types of con­tact dis­in­fes­tants are no longer avail­able for on-farm use,” he said.

“There­fore, grain must be clean and free of pests be­fore ap­ply­ing a pro­tec­tant.”

The Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion sup­ports Mr Botta’s work.

In or­der to give pro­tec­tants the best chance to de­fend stored grain, metic­u­lous stor­age hy­giene prac­tices be­fore and af­ter har­vest are re­quired.

Mr Botta said clean­ing stor­age sites and har­vest­ing equip­ment re­moved har­bours where pests could sur­vive, ready to in­fest the new sea­son’s grain. The ad­di­tion of aer­a­tion cool­ing also pro­vides an unattrac­tive en­vi­ron­ment for pests in stored grain.

He re­minded grow­ers to al­ways read the chem­i­cal la­bel be­fore choos­ing a pro­tec­tant to en­sure it was reg­is­tered for use on the grain they in­tended to ap­ply the prod­uct, and that it would tar­get the main in­sects com­monly found in their stor­age.

As a gen­eral guide, pro­tec­tants are only reg­is­tered for use on ce­real grains and only some, not all, of those pro­tec­tant prod­ucts are reg­is­tered for use on malt­ing bar­ley, rice and maize. No pro­tec­tants are reg­is­tered for use on pulses and oilseeds.

Mr Botta im­plored grow­ers to fully un­der­stand the re­quire­ments of the tar­geted mar­kets for their grain be­fore con­sid­er­ing ap­pli­ca­tion of a grain pro­tec­tant.

“Some buy­ers – do­mes­tic and over­seas – will not take grain that has had pro­tec­tants ap­plied, so it is crit­i­cal grow­ers know in ad­vance what those mar­ket spec­i­fi­ca­tions are so they aren’t lim­it­ing their sell­ing op­tions,” he said.

If tar­get­ing mar­kets which ac­cept grain that has been treated with a pro­tec­tant, know­ing the max­i­mum residue lim­its of those mar­kets is also es­sen­tial.

“As grain mar­kets have become less tol­er­ant to pro­tec­tants and max­i­mum residue lim­its, max­i­mum residue lim­its are mon­i­tored scrupu­lously – ac­cu­rate ap­pli­ca­tion in terms of the cor­rect rate and spread is vi­tal.”

Com­mod­ity ven­dor dec­la­ra­tions are also used in many cases to en­sure a par­cel of grain is only sub­jected to one ap­pli­ca­tion of the pro­tec­tant to avoid ex­ceed­ing the max­i­mum residue lim­its.

Some pro­tec­tants start de­te­ri­o­rat­ing 48 hours af­ter be­ing mixed with wa­ter so grow­ers should avoid leav­ing pre­pared pro­tec­tants for long pe­ri­ods be­fore ap­ply­ing to grain.

The prod­uct la­bel will also in­di­cate the an­tic­i­pated ef­fec­tive life of the pro­tec­tant on the grain.

The ef­fec­tive life of pro­tec­tants is short­ened if ap­plied to grain above 12 per­cent mois­ture con­tent and at tem­per­a­tures above 27 de­grees, or if treated grain is ex­posed to di­rect sun­light, which can oc­cur at the end of a shed or in an open bunker.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on grain pro­tec­tants is avail­able from the GRDC’s Stored Grain In­for­ma­tion Hub at www.stored­grain.com au.

Photo: CHRIS STACEY

CON­SIDER PRO­TEC­TANTS: Grow­ers plan­ning to store grain in un­sealed stor­ages af­ter this year’s har­vest are be­ing en­cour­aged to con­sider us­ing grain pro­tec­tants to re­duce the risk of in­sect pest in­fes­ta­tions.

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