“I’ve seen an estimate of 11 million tonnes of on farm grain storage capacity in the eastern states” says Rod McLean who is a consultant to Bayer on grain storage products. “It was from a reputable organisation but was a bit optimistic. That would be equivalent to 60% of lasts year’s crop in NSW, Vic and Queensland and that’s far too high. No one knows what the on farm storage capacity is but it is safe to say it is not going to decline.” McLean added.
“The readily available information so growers get better selling prices, the options and systems to safely store grain and the savings will all encourage grain growers to continue to store their own grain.” said McLean.
“What we need to do is ensure is that those who store grain on farms use the chemical controls they now have correctly and not lose them due to weevils developing resistance. Several that were commonly used in the seventies and eighties are now gone. Some in use now will only give two to three months of protection. Even with phosphine, which has been the industry mainstay, there are signs of resistance developing.”
“In the last three years new contact pesticides based on different modes of action have been released. Farmers can get nine months or more effective weevil protection. Even with these newer products those who store grain on farm should practice an integrated approach to managing their grain storage. Relying on chemical controls alone is a risky strategy.” McLean said.
“In Australia Bayer instituted a comprehensive product stewardship program when it launched K-Obiol® to the on farm storage market, “said McLean. “Bayer sees the program as part of being a responsible supplier to the industry. It educates users on how to correctly store grain and how to ensure they won’t get weevils. It’s best practice and Bayer are considering introducing it elsewhere.”
“The training package is now available on line and is free to any grain grower “says McLean. “They can access it at www.environmentalscience.bayer.com.au/k-obiol. As well as the correct use of K-Obiol it covers what else can be done to maximise the chance of success when storing your grain. The cleaning of equipment before harvest, aeration to lower the temperature in the silo and monitoring of the grain for insects should all be included when you store your own grain” according to McLean.
McLean went on to add, “Bayer wanted to offer straightforward and practical advice. The training package has links to other web sites with good information on storing grain; it is not just promoting K-Obiol.”
“We also want to clarify some misconceptions. Rotation of protectants is a good example. Most farmers know that the continual use of one product with the same mode of action will lead to resistance. We have recently seen the recommendation that products should be rotated on a 2 to 1 ratio, Conserve on Farm® for 2 years and K-Obiol for the third”, said McLean. “You’ve got to question the rationale behind this advice. If you are serious about avoiding resistance you rotate yearly. This is the practice of the largest east coast grain handler, so why would a farmer do it differently? From a cost perspective it also is the most sensible. K-Obiol has a lower cost per tonne of grain so it makes sense to use it when there is also a good technical reason. All in all growers can give themselves the best chance of avoiding weevils and at a reasonable cost”.
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