Not all of the large 2013 crop got put away in steel bins or plastic bags. Some of it is piled in quonsets, outdoors on tarps or in temporary storage after bags and machines became scarce. And that means it is subject to insect infestations.
Noel White of Agriculture Canada’s Cereal Research Centre in Winnipeg said the grain insect risk for this crop is significant due to the way it is stored.
“The insects will find it and make a home in it. The challenge is to get that grain moved into the marketing stream first, otherwise it is going to be tough to hold it without problems,” he said.
White and his colleagues at the centre have been studying grain bag storage for three years and say that solution is effective at preserving grain safely, provided the bags stay closed at the ends.
“Provided the grain is dry, it should be good for the winter. But we recommend moving it out before spring to maintain the grade though,” he said.
Insects in the grain won’t multiply if the grain is below 20 C, so producers with air can keep infestations from growing if it is cooled well.
“The hard part is when grain is stored in very large quantities and it can’t get a chance to cool,” he said.
Rusty grain beetles remain the main pest problem for producers.
Blaine Timlick of the Canadian Grain Commission said his organization recently launched a new grain insect identification tool on its website, www.grainscanada.gc.ca.
That system allows producers to use a computerized decision tree that provides photographs of the insects that could be present in Canadian crop commodity production and allows a step by step identification process based on the insects’ features.
White says once pests are discovered, producers should act quickly to deal with them. Turning the grain at very cold temperatures will kill the insects and reduce any warm, spoiled grain to a stable temperature.
“If you can, wait for one of those minus 20 days and you’ll have great success,” he said.
Producers who chose to store grain in older, wooden structures that had previously fallen out of use will probably find those bins reliable because of their small size and the ability to cool grain temperatures quickly as the weather turns cold.