Growers who are planning to store grain in unsealed storages after this year’s harvest are encouraged to use grain protectants to reduce the risk of insect pest infestations.
Experts say 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.
Grain storage specialist for the southern cropping region, Peter Botta, says grain protectants are designed to prevent pest infestations.
But he reminded growers that protectants won’t control existing infestations in their grain.
“A common misunderstanding is that grain protectants kill insects already infesting the grain, but those types of products (contact disinfestants) are no longer available for on-farm use,” Mr Botta said.
“Therefore, grain must be clean and free of pests before applying a protectant.”
Mr Botta, whose work is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), said in order to give protectants the best possible chance to defend stored grain, meticulous storage hygiene practices before and after harvest are a must.
He said cleaning storage sites and harvesting equipment removes harbours where pests can survive, ready to infest the new season’s grain.
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The addition of aeration cooling also provides an unattractive environment for pests in stored grain.
He reminds growers to always read the chemical label before choosing a protectant to ensure it is registered for use on their grain.
They also need to make sure it will 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.
Before considering application of a grain protectant, Mr Botta said growers need to make sure they fully understand the requirements of the targeted markets for their grain.