The Canadian Grain Commission is warning farmers that the warm summer across the Prairies has increased the risk of insect infestations in stored grain.
“This year we’ve had a mild winter followed by a warm summer. In these conditions, insects, such as the rusty grain beetle and the red flour beetle, can increase in number dramatically,” explains Brent Elliott, infestation control and sanitation officer at the Canadian Grain Commission.
Even before harvest begins, insects may be attracted to bins if there is enough debris for them to feed on. Producers can prepare their empty bins for storage by:
Ensuring bins and areas around bins are clean and free of debris and repairing or sealing any cracks or crevices. Even small amounts of grain can attract insects.
Producers could also treat their bins with a registered insecticide. They should also clean and treat aeration plenums and spaces under bins, floors where debris may collect and attract insects.
To maintain overall grain quality and minimize insect pest problems once grain is in storage, producers should dry grain before storing it, if necessary, to bring it to the recommended moisture content. The Official Grain Grading Guide’s specifications for dry grain are: barley (all except select): 14.8 per cent moisture or less, wheat, 14.5 per cent moisture or less, oats 13.5 per cent, and select barley 13.5 per cent.
Use aeration to help control the heat and moisture of grain in storage, particularly if grain is stored at a high temperature. Bring grain temperature below 15 C as quickly as possible. Keep the temperature of grain low and uniform, below 15 C.
If using aeration, keep the surface of the grain inside the bin as level as possible to avoid the collection of moisture in the cone.
Monitor grain routinely to ensure insects are not becoming a problem.