Mouse and insect pressure highlights importance of grain silo hygiene

Staff Reporter Countryman
Grain silos.
Camera IconGrain silos. Credit: GRDC/GRDC

WA farmers have been urged to prioritise grain storage hygiene as mouse and insect pressure builds during the busy seeding season.

Grains Research Development Corporation grain storage extension specialist Ben White recommended growers clean spills or tailings from the seed cleaner to minimise the potential for mouse and insect damage.

“Grain spills around sheds and silos ... can supply a feed source for vermin and insect pests,” Mr White said.

“Promptly cleaning up silo and auger hoppers, seed cleaning tailings and any grain spills eliminates a potential food source.”

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Growers with temporary storage — including grain storage bags and sheds — should monitor those with increasing vigilance because both mice and birds were attracted to spilt grain.

The pest issue could compound, with foxes chasing mice, leaving holes in bags where water could damage grain.

Mr White said four months was typically the safe storage time limit for grain stored in bags, with longer storage periods increasing pressure from pests.

“Cleaning up, baiting and fencing have proven to reduce problems for many growers,” he said.

“Prioritising out-turn of grain in short-term storage options will minimise the potential for damage to the stored grain.”

Mr White encouraged growers to do a pre-seeding check of seed and stored grain in silos, sheds and bags, looking for insect and vermin outbreaks.

“Get grain storage hygiene in order and look for signs of vermin activity, baiting early as needed,” he said. “Sample and sieve to find grain storage insect pests, and look for evidence of activity.

“A germination test heading into seeding is also recommended so seeding rates can be adjusted accordingly.”

Hygiene and early intervention can minimise numbers, and the impact vermin and insects can have on the quality of seed and market-bound grain in storage.

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