Monitoring is the only sure way to avoid last-minute surprises when out-loading grain from storage. The aim is to preclude finding live insects or damaged grain at out-loading when it’s too late to manage it.
Checking grain monthly during winter and fortnightly during the warmer months enables any issues to be dealt with before significant grain damage occurs and prevents costly rejections from grain buyers.
In warm conditions (>30ºC) many grain pests can complete their life cycle in as little as 3–4 weeks causing significant damage.
Check for insect pests as well as checking for any change in grain temperature and moisture which can be indicates there is an issue in the storage.
Collect samples from the areas where insects and mould are most likely to establish first. These areas are generally around openings — hatches, doors, aeration fan inlets, filling and emptying points.
The most common place for insects and mould in a silo is at the top, just below the surface of the peak of grain. This is because it’s the last place aeration cooling or drying reaches, it’s exposed to the sun heating the headspace, condensation from the headspace and provides easy access for insects through the top lid, inspection hole or vents.
Always follow workplace health and safety guidelines and only climb to the top of a storage if it’s safe to do so.
Always collect samples from beneath the grain surface. At the bottom of a silo this means opening an outlet to run a small amount of grain out. A sampling probe is ideal for collecting grain from the top of a silo, but it’s often impractical or unsafe to climb up a silo with a sampling probe.