Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Regular grain checks 'needed'

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

GRAIN stored on farms must be checked on a weekly basis for any deterioration in quality, Teagasc has warned.

Grain harvested in mid- September is now 14 weeks in storage and should be checked for hot spots, infestation with insects or a build-up of mould, Teagasc feed expert Siobhan Kavanagh has advised.

Grain at 16pc moisture with a storage temperature of less than 15°C will have a safe storage of 30 weeks.

"However, given the mild weather conditions in September and October, it may have been difficult to get the temperature in grain stores down adequately, particularly where there was no drying or ventilation systems present," she said.

Ms Kavanagh advised farmers to check the temperature of the grain, using a temperature probe, and check for any rainwater getting into the shed.

"Check that any fans, pedestals or other ventilation units are operating at the correct rate to match grain moisture and make sure that grain stores are bird- and vermin-proof," said Ms Kavanagh.

"Inspect bait points regularly and avoid contamination with old grain, chemicals, etc during storage."

If the grain is showing signs of heating or deteriorating in quality, there are steps the farmer can take immediately.

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"If grain continues to heat, reduce the height of the piles to less than four feet. For small lots, use a front-end loader to allow some air into it and where hot spots occur, a spear can be used. This heating could also be caused by a pest infection," she said. "If grain is infected with insects, pest eradication is best carried out by professionals.

"Chemical control is becoming increasingly difficult, so prevention is the best means of control.

"If there are patches of mouldy grain, try to identify the source," she added.

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