With the potential for grain losses due to pest damage costing up to £50 tonne, farmers are being encouraged to check their stores weekly to protect against insect damage – especially given the fact that ambient temperatures are high for this time of year.

“Once insects access grain stores, infestation can escalate quickly, with heightened pest activity causing hotspots that encourage fungus and mould development,” pointed out Ken Black, Bayer's rural hygiene manager, this week. “It’s important to check stores on a weekly basis, firstly assessing the temperature and moisture of the grain, as warm and damp conditions are conducive of insect presence.

“To prevent damage from some of the most common insects, such as the grain weevil and lesser grain borer, I’d recommend aiming for temperatures below 15°C and a moisture content under 15%,” he added. “If readings exceed these thresholds, then the use of store ventilation will help to bring them down.”

On top of this, insect levels should be monitored using pitfall traps, that sit above the grain surface to pick up any crawling insects. “Ideally traps need to be placed every four metres to give an accurate and prompt measurement for pest pressure, so that rapid action can be taken to rectify the issue and keep losses to a minimum.

“However, if the infestation is heavy, the grain may need to be removed and cleaned, before returning to the store. If re-infestation is likely, then both the building and grain will require treatment with products such as K-Obiol,” he added.

* In-store management will be a leading topic by Bayer's pest solutions team at the forthcoming Croptec event, on November 28 and 29 at the East of England Showground, near Peterborough.