The 2017-grain crop harvest is beginning. Low crop prices and tight profit margins have made grain storage an important component of marketing plans. Keeping grain in good storage condition begins with grain bin preparation and sanitation. The number one principle advocated by grain storage specialists is never store new grain on top of old grain. Remove old grain and clean bins before storing new grain. Curtis Young, OSU Extension educator in Van Wert County, provides the following recommendations regarding cleaning and preparing bins for the 2017 harvest.
Remove any grain or grain dust from inside the bins by sweeping or vacuuming empty bins and brushing down walls. Pay close attention to cracks and crevices, ledges over doors, and hollow tube ladder rungs on or in which grain could be trapped from the previous storage seasons. Clear debris from fans, aeration ducts, exhausts, and when possible, beneath slotted floors. Remove any spilled grain from around the outside of the bin and storage facility.
Inspect bins for signs of deterioration, especially for leaks and holes through which insects, birds or rodents can gain easy access to the stored grain or rain and snow can drip or blow in onto the grain to produce wet spots that can lead to mold growth. Check electrical systems for corroded connections and frayed wiring before harvest. Mice like to nest inside electrical boxes. They will strip insulation from wires for nesting material and their urine causes corrosion. While inspecting control boxes, be sure to seal any openings through which mice could get in.
After all cleaning and repairs have been completed, an empty-bin application of an appropriately labeled insecticide is advisable, especially in bins with difficult to clean areas and/or in bins with a history of insect problems. For empty-bin insecticide treatments applied as a liquid, allow a minimum of 24 hours for the sprays to dry before loading grain into the bin. It is preferable to have empty-bin treatments applied at least two weeks prior to harvest.
Registered empty-bin insecticides include: Tempo SC Ultra (cyfluthrin), Storcide II (chlorpyrifos-methyl plus deltamethrin) which is primarily used around small grains, Suspend SC (deltamethrin), Diacon-D IGR, and several pyrethrin products can be used to apply a surface treatment to the inside of the bin and provide residual protection. Other options include products that contain diatomaceous earth and/or silicon dioxide such as Insecto, Protect-It, and Perma-Guard. Refer to the individual product labels for lists of insects controlled and application directions. Note: most if not all malathion products have removed stored grain uses from their labels.
Grain storage insecticide labels tend to change frequently. Check to make sure you are following the instructions on the product label and using the appropriate product for your situation.