How to Manage and Protect Farm Stored Grain From Any Pest

Aug 5


Ma. Theresa Galan

Ma. Theresa Galan

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Most of the loss from insect damage and/or contamination could be avoided if farmers would practice several relatively easy management techniques. The potential savings possible by practicing good stored grain management techniques is approximately three times the combined value of treating the onset of infestation.


Proper management of stored grain begins with sanitation of bins, How to Manage and Protect Farm Stored Grain From Any Pest Articles equipment, and the surrounding grounds before the grain is harvested. Each bin should be emptied of last year's grain if possible and cleaned thoroughly before any new grain is introduced. To clean a grain bin, the walls, floor, ceiling, and any ledges should be cleaned of old grain and dust. Insects and molds are easily concealed in these areas where they are ready to infest new grain placed in the bin. Other areas in the bin where insects can hide include augers, areas under the floor, and areas under loose tin or wood. A shop vacuum can be used to remove debris from under loose tin and in cracks. Debris which has fallen through the floor can be removed by removal of the flooring. This is a difficult task and in most cases unnecessary when chemical controls are applied in addition to sanitation.

Insects frequently contaminate harvesting equipment and may survive in grain residues remaining in a combine. If these residues are not removed, the first load of newly harvested grain will contain insects that can infest stored grain. All the sanitation steps taken to this point will have been wasted if time is not taken to examine the harvest equipment and remove any sources of insect infestation.


Many insects, particularly in their immature stages, feed primarily on broken kernels and other debris in the bin. By cleaning grain before placing it in the bin, a primary insect food source can be removed. Clean grain is also easier to aerate. Unless the bin has a distribution system, most of the fine materials end up in a column down the middle of the bin as the grain is augered in the bin. Because air always takes the path of least resistance through the grain, the middle of the bin is not properly aerated. As a consequence, the middle of the bin experiences moisture buildup and heating which are conducive to insect outbreaks.

Once the grain bin has been filled, the grain should be leveled on top. Otherwise, air movement again takes the path of least resistance and comes out along the walls of the bin. The grain in the peak is therefore not aerated properly, and in many cases becomes moist, caked with mold, and heated. Insect outbreaks frequently occur in the peaked area.


A grain bin is a biological system. A good manager must be aware of the interactions among the stored grain and temperature, moisture, insects, fungi, and bacteria.To avoid the problems that can develop as a result of moisture migration, periodic monitoring of the grain is essential. A grain bin should be monitored once a month during the winter and twice a month during warmer periods to measure grain temperature, moisture content, and insect and fungus activity. To sample for insects in the grain, a piece of equipment known as the partitioned grain tierer is commonly utilized.

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