Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Guide to monitoring stored grain

December 1, 2014

Monitoring stored grain on farm coverAlthough the harvest is over for another year and the grain is safely stored on-farm, growers can never fully relax. With zero market tolerance for live pests in grain, storage is no time to forget about biosecurity.

To avoid rejection of grain when out-loading, growers need to regularly monitor stored grain for unwanted pests. Because it can be costly to deal effectively with insect pests in storage facilities, it makes a lot of sense to follow a few simple steps to prevent them becoming a problem.

To help growers meet the challenges of storing grain, Plant Health Australia released the Monitoring Stored Grain on Farm manual.

According to Philip Burrill from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Storage Project team, the publication pulls together information from a number of other resources.

“The new booklet tells grain growers about the simple steps they can take to safeguard their grain,” he said

There are four main biosecurity measures for growers to implement to safeguard their stored grain.

“Good hygiene and well managed aeration cooling can overcome 70 per cent of pest problems. The other measures are regular pest monitoring, and using the correct fumigation practices,” advised Philip.

Aeration cooling is recommended as grain is placed into storage to reduce temperature and to get uniformity of moisture in the grain bulk. Regular monitoring during storage allows you to look for pests and to record their presence or absence.

“Regular checking of grain is fairly simple. It should be done at least monthly during the year, and even more frequently in the warmer months when insect pests are more active.”

“Fumigation only needs to be done if you actually find insects. And if you do find insects, it is important to be able to identify them,” said Philip.

Early detection and the correct identification of grain pests reduces grain losses, allows for more targeted pest control and avoids the risk of insects spreading to other storages.

The guide emphasises the need to follow fumigant label directions closely. Adhering to guidelines will ensure operator safety and reduce the build-up of insects that are resistant to fumigants.

Images and information on each of the common pests of stored grain in Australia are included in the booklet.

Exotic pests are also a major threat to the Australian grains industry, with the key exotic pests of stored grain being Khapra beetle and Karnal bunt, both of which have been included.

“Everything you need is in the one handy booklet. It can be kept in your ute glove box or office drawer so it’s there when you need it,” Philip added.

Plant Biosecurity CRC provided funding for development of the 30-page booklet. Hard copies are available from Grains Biosecurity Officers or can be downloaded from the grains industry page.

State Grains Biosecurity Officer Phone
NSW Rachel Taylor-Hukins 0409 945 069
Qld Kym McIntyre 0429 727 690
SA Judy Bellati 0412 218 228
Vic Jim Moran 0418 377 930
WA Jeff Russell 0447 851 801

Acknowledgement: Article reproduced with the permission of GRDC.