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Get ready for harvest

Before the rush of harvest gets overwhelming, be sure to have a plan for managing grain storage. There are numerous models to follow, but Johnny Wilson, technical services specialist for Central Life Sciences, recommends the S.L.A.M. method.

“These are all management practices that will not only have a positive effect on insect control but will also give you better control over your grain quality in general,” he said.
Steps to this method are:
  • Sanitation — Starting with a clean bin is the first defense against grain spoilage from insects. Grain-feeding pests can survive on residual grain, broken kernels, fines, foreign material and molds accumulated inside grain bins and around the bin perimeter. Trim vegetation around the bins, equipment and storage buildings to reduce any potential refuge areas between seasons. This is also a good time to check mechanical parts of the bin and conduct any maintenance needed before new grain is stored.

  • Loading — Practices such as slow rate of drying and conveying will limit physical damage to the grain. On the pest control side, this includes steps such as coring the fines out of the bin, watching for moisture discrepancies and minimizing overall handling to reduce breaks.

  • Aeration — Proper air-flow techniques will keep moisture content and migration in check. It will also aid in reaching cooler grain mass temperatures, which will cause stored product insects to die or go dormant. Keep in mind that as temperatures rise, the insects that went dormant or the eggs that were laid will start to show signs of emergence if there were no treatments in place.

  • Monitoring — This can be as simple as checking a temperature probe inserted at various points in the grain mass to acquiring grain trier samples and analyzing those for various metrics throughout the storage season. Part of this monitoring step also involves the facilities themselves and making sure to note when bins need repaired. A leaky bin can lead to rapid spoilage due to both moisture introduction and an additional entry point for pests. Seal aeration fans when not in use to prevent warm or moist air and insects from entering the grain mass.

    To learn more about Central Life Science's S.L.A.M method Click here:

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CLICK HERE to read more articles from this August/September 2023 issue of Today's Farmer Magazine.

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