Protecting Grain in On-Farm Storages

The move to grains now being stored on farm has been one of the significant changes in grain marketing. Peter Botta, one of Australia’s leaders in grain storage, believes half the national crop will be stored on farm within 5-10 years.

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on-farm grain storage

On farm storage gives the farmer greater flexibility at harvest time and the ability to get better prices for their grain. Like most things though there are trade-offs and in this case these take the form of added responsibilities.  Protecting the grain from insects is the main one.

 “Weevils” can multiply quickly. Depending on the type of insect their life cycles will vary between 3 to 7 weeks at 30oC.  They can quickly lower the value of your stored grain.

To protect grain from insects there are two basic options. The first, and one most used at bulk grain handlers, is using a gas tight silo and treating the grain with fumigants – phosphine is the most common. This has the advantage of controlling all insects and leaving no residues. The problem is many silos do not remain gas-tight even if that was the spec when they were first installed.  Non gas tight silos result in poor insect control or reinfestation.

The second option is to use a contact pesticide. These can be used in non-gas tight silos and should be used on un- infested grain as they have limited ability to control live insects. However they do provide protection to the grain for 6 or more months.

In recent times new contact pesticides have become available for use on farm. These have replaced the chlorpyriphos methyl and IGR types where insect resistance is widespread.

K-Obiol from Bayer is based on deltamethrin with a different mode of action to the above products. For the 2016 season it will become available in a 5L pack but with no change to the price per litre or cost per treated tonne of grain at $1.98/tonne*.  Of the recently released, and effective grain protectants, it is the lowest cost one on the market.

If you have not used K-Obiol you will need to do the training in the correct use of the product and become an Approved User. The training is done on line at the website

  There is no cost to do the training and once completed you will be issued with your K-Obiol Approved Users ID card.  It is recommended you do this training now, well before harvest, and avoid a last minute rush.

We wrote above about the added responsibility when you store grain. The other responsibility comes from being more involved in the food supply chain and food safety.  Traceability is becoming an important factor in food supply. Grain protectants are chemicals so good record keeping of what was applied to the grain and passing on this information to the grain buyer are important. The training on K-Obiol also includes general information on what you need to do to meet these requirements.

* cost exclude levies and GST


For Further Information:

Rod McLean

(m) 0413 820 426