WITH disappointing prices for cereals and oilseed rape this harvest, it may be a season to prolong storage until prices recover, according to Simon Bishop, of Interfarm UK Ltd.

If this is the case, he said cereal and oilseed rape growers should be proactive in preventing insect pest and mite damage in store to extend the storage period while maintaining quality.

If warm conditions continue, growers need to treat grain heaps before pests and mites spoil the grain they have harvested.

Mr Bishop said: “Prevention is always better than cure. Storage pests cause direct damage to grain and create conditions in which fungal growth can occur, both of which adversely affect quality and returns.

“Silico-Sec is an effective preventative treatment for harvested cereal grain and oilseed rape seed. Because it is a biophysical product, it controls any exo-skeletal pest, including grain weevils, sawtoothed grain beetles, red-rust flour beetles, cosmopolitan food mites and flour mites.”

It is applied to the grain surface, either as a low cost preventative treatment at a rate of 200g/m² or as a localised curative application at the rate of 600g/m², depending on the extent of the problem.

“It should be applied to the surface of stored grains after the heat and moisture content have been reduced within the HGCA guidelines and then worked into the top 30cms with a rake,” he said.

“Most infestations are found in the surface layers of grain piles, where insect pests move and can access oxygen more easily.

“Surface layer treatments can be effective in both prevention and cure of pest infestations.

But this is only the case when used as part of an integrated strategy for grain store management, together with temperature and moisture control.”

Mr Bishop added that Silico-Sec was a natural, nontoxic alternative to conventional chemical treatments and was recommended in conventional and organic farming systems. It is approved for use under the Organic Farmers and Growers’ approved inputs scheme.