Protect seed in aerated silos

Protect seed in aerated silos


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Seed for planting is the most valuable grain you'll ever store.

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DIRT on his boots, practical, pragmatic researcher, Philip Burrill tells everyone that planting seed stored on-farm is the most valuable grain they'll ever store.

Silo aeration and cooling keeps seed in best condition for germination and vigour while preventing weevil infestation. Qld AgriScience researcher at Hermitage Research Philip Burrill checks ventilation and cooling at a silo.

Silo aeration and cooling keeps seed in best condition for germination and vigour while preventing weevil infestation. Qld AgriScience researcher at Hermitage Research Philip Burrill checks ventilation and cooling at a silo.

He's been translating scientific research to increase profitability of grain growers for nearly 40 years and his messages are quite simple.

"If you plant poor quality seed you are setting yourself up for a poor crop establishment of germination and reduced early vigour," he says.

The researcher at Hermitage Research Station, Warwick, Queensland, said low establishment had huge implications leading to a disastrous crop failure or at best, low yield.

"Then those spaces between established crop plants allows weeds to flourish so the cost of in-field control could jump quite markedly," he said.

Storing seed grain on-farm needs to four key practices to safeguard purity and quality.

Four key practices

"Firstly you should check your silos once a month and record each inspection," Mr Burrill said.

"Place insect probe traps and also sample a bucket full from each silo and sieve for insects.

"Check for mould and from the silo top give the grain a sniff for surety of good storage conditions."

Monitoring hygiene

Before storing grain give silos a good wash out, let dry for a couple of days, then treat with Diatomaceous Earth Insecticide (Dryacide). Check application levels on chemical labels.

Aeration, cooling

Mr Burrill said farmers should invest the time to store their planting grain properly.

"Aeration and cooling of silos should be standard on all storage in Australia.

"Grain temperature is one of the biggest killers of germination and vigour. The preferred temperature should be 23 degrees celsius. Lower temperatures makes life difficult for weevils."

Sealable silo

Mr Burrill said lastly, preferred storages should be sealable, aerated silos, cone-base being the easiest to clean.

"I've seen far too many examples of weevil damage because silos have not been checked on a monthly basis. If there is contamination lock-up the silo and fumigate for 10 days and if silo is aerated, allow one day of aeration, if not, allow silo to be open for five days before any grain can leave it."

A common mistake, people think a "sealable" silo can be locked-up to keep insects away.

"When sealed, grain moisture becomes a playground for weevils, so always assume weevils are in your grain."

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