Prevent infestations in stored grain

You can prevent insect pest infestations from developing in your stored grain by preparing your grain bins, keeping grain in good condition, and monitoring stored grain.

Bin-stored grain

Follow proper grain storage procedures to maintain your grain’s quality until you are ready to market it.

Prepare your bin before harvest

Insects in grain bins feed on debris, dockage and leftover cereal grain.

  • Clean the bin with high-pressure water or air, a heavy broom and/or a vacuum
  • Clean aeration systems
  • Eliminate dust and dockage from any cracks in the bin
  • Repair holes, cracks and leaks in the bin and any cracks in concrete floors
  • Clean under the floor grates
  • Clear the area around the grain bins of all weeds, volunteer cereals, and grain spills

Decide which bin you will use for each crop

How you clean and prepare an empty bin depends on the type of crop you plan to store.

  • If you plan to store oilseeds, avoid using chemical insecticides on the bin, as oilseeds are absorbent and the residue remains in the seed
  • If you plan to store cereal grains, there are several approved insecticides you can use to treat the interiors of empty grain bins
  • Apply approved insecticides to disinfest grain bins if deemed necessary

Ensure the surface is level when you add clean grain to the bin

Aeration is more effective when the grain pile is level.

Grain is a very good insulator, so if warm grain is stored and left undisturbed, convection currents can develop and cause hot spots and condensation.

Bring the temperature of the grain down to 18°C as soon as possible

Lower the moisture content of grain to below 14.5 % and cool the grain below 18°C to prevent stored-grain insect pest problems.

  • Most stored product pests do not feed or reproduce below 18ºC
  • Grain bulks that are stored above 14.5 % moisture content can develop heated regions
  • Heat encourages fungal growth, and both attract insects

Monitor the temperature of stored grain and aerate the grain bulk

Check the temperature of the bin every 2 weeks and aerate stored grain as soon as possible after harvest, particularly if aeration can reduce the bulk temperature to below 18°C.

  • When the ambient temperature falls below that of the grain bulk (during the early evening, night and early morning), you can use aeration to reduce the temperature of the grain
  • Aeration systems preserve stored grain and keep it dry by reducing the temperature of the grain and moisture migration
  • Always ensure that temperature fronts have moved fully through the grain bulk before stopping aeration

Temporary grain storage

Occasionally, you may need to use temporary storage solutions such as bags or grain piles on the ground.

  • If grain is stored on the ground, ensure the ground is hard and the site is convex
  • Clear the area of all debris
  • Choose an area that is graded so that water flows away from the grain
  • Determine if you need to manage grain temperature and/or moisture in temporary storage
  • Cover the grain as best possible
  • If you are using silo bags, regularly check and maintain the integrity of the bags
  • Move temporarily stored grain into bins as soon as possible

Grain elevators licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission are prohibited from storing grain on the ground.

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