Reduce storage loss with clean bins and equipment
Producers can protect their yield during harvest by cleaning and treating grain bins to reduce potential storage losses.
The first step is to clean grain bins thoroughly, disposing of spilled, cracked, and broken grain and grain flour, along with the insects feeding on such material.
Storage insects often get started in the grain dust and broken kernels and fines which tend to concentrate right under the loading auger in the center of the bin. (Fines can also restrict airflow through the grain mass and make it harder to uniformly dry the grain and regulate temperature with aeration.)
A simple broom and a vacuum cleaner are essential pieces of equipment when cleaning grain bins.
Since stored grain insects can invade new grain from infested harvesting and handling equipment (combines, augers, etc.), it’s essential that this equipment and any bins be well cleaned before harvest. Carefully remove all traces of old grain from combines, truck beds, grain carts, augers, and any other equipment used for harvesting, transporting, and handling grain.
Even small amounts of moldy or insect-infested grain left in equipment can contaminate a bin of new grain.
Never store new grain on top of old grain due to the risk of infesting new grain with storage insects and mold organisms.
If a farmer thinks there is any chance they might hold grain in the bin into May or later, it would be prudent to apply residual insecticides to the empty bin after thoroughly cleaning it.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture website lists insecticides labeled for use in grain bins:
Grain bins-empty: non-residual contact treatment. Grain bins-empty: non-residual space treatment.
Grain bins-empty: non-residual treatment.
Grain bins-feed/food empty: fumigation.
Grain bins-feed/food empty: residual general treatment.
Grain bins-feed/food full: residual general treatment. Grain bins-full: non-residual contact treatment.
Grain bins-full: non-residual treatment.
Grain elevators-Full: fumigation.
If the bin has a raised drying floor and was known to be infested with grain storage insects last season, consider hiring a professional pest control operator to fumigate the empty bin prior to filling with new grain.