Australia. New record expected to be set for on-farm grain storage

03.01.2017

Grain growers are expected to store a record amount of harvested grain on their farms this season.

A combination of a huge harvest and historically low prices on offer for wheat and barley is driving the move.

Grain storage specialist Peter Botta, who works with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, said there had been a big increase in the use of silo or 'sausage' bags, typically made of plastic, which offer a temporary storage option.

"I've been talking to a lot of people about using bags; we've seen a large increase in those," he said.

"Basically it is just a case of filling the silo bags up as you harvest.

"My tip for growers though is to set the bags up in an area that has been well prepared. That will minimise any vermin getting into them as much as possible.

"I've also had a lot of growers talking to me about 2017 being a possible tough year for mice, because there will be so much feed around for them … so you need to have them in a place as far away from the paddock as possible."

Mr Botta said one of the challenges was protecting the grain from vermin and insects as time goes on.

"There's no practical way to protect them with a grain protectant, so it really is that you just put the grain in and that is it," he said.

"In the worst case you can fumigate them, but the critical thing there is that the bag is sealed and won't leak gas."

Another area of some debate is how long grain can be safely stored in silo bags, as they are intended to be a temporary fix.

"That's the $64 million question," Mr Botta said.

"There are always exceptions to that though, and I know growers who store grain that way for 12-18 months, and they pull really good quality grain out of them, but they manage them very actively. So it really comes down to how you manage them."


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