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Summer 2003
1 Preparation
2 Moisture
Dear member

First published in 1999,HGCA’s Grain storage

3 Drying – heated air
guide was widely accepted by the industr y.We
printed 45,000 copies and it is now required
4 Drying – bulk or near-ambient
reading by most assurance schemes.Principles
laid down in the original publication remain 5 Temperature
sound – effective grain storage is crucial to
successfully producing and marketing grain. 6 Cooling
However, legislation,technology and pesticides
have all changed,so it is now time for an 7 Insects
8 Mites
New legal limits for ochratoxin A contamination
in grain now apply. Treatments that can be used 9 Pest identification
on stored grain as part of an integrated strategy
have changed.Ho wever, check what treatments 10 Fungi
your buyer will accept. Warmer winters mean
that using ambient air to cool grain takes longer, 11 Pesticides
so moisture content assumes greater Well-sealed
importance. 12 Rodents & birds doors prevent
rodent entry.
Two companion publications now provide more 13 Oilseed rape
detail on some aspects of g rain storage.These Sound roofs and
are Rodent control in agriculture and Grain gutters prevent
sampling – a farmer’s guide.
14 Monitoring
water entering.

Any guide is bound to ha ve a limited ‘shelf life’.

References Stores separated from
To avoid confusion,I suggest you throw away potential rodent harbourages
The Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) has provided funding by clear areas.
your old copy and now use this ‘updated’guide.
for some of the projects on which this document is based but has
Protected external fans prevent
not conducted the research or written this guide.While the authors
Yours sincerely direct water ingress.
have worked on the best information available to them, neither the
HGCA nor the authors shall in any event be liable for any loss, Operating systems – intake pit,
damage or injury howsoever suffered directly or indirectly in conveyors,bins etc – kept clean and
relation to the guide or the research on which it is based. free of debris.
Reference herein to trade names and proprietary products without Stores kept clean.Sweepings removed.
Professor Graham Jellis stating that they are protected does not imply they may be regarded No animal feeds stored.
Director of Research as unprotected and thus free for general use. No endorsement of
HGCA named products is intended, nor is any criticism implied of other External bait points detect and control rodents.
alternative, but unnamed products. Bait bags and PC traps monitor for insects
and mites.

This guide is endorsed by the following organisations: Shatterproof light fittings.

Adequate space above grain for air circulation.
Differential thermostats linked to fan controls for
TASCC optimum efficiency.


● Dry ● Cool ● Monitor
Like any foodstuff, grain must be protected from
contamination. Storage facilities and grain condition

1 PREPARATION are both critical. Stores must be clean, dry and well
ventilated. Equipment must work properly.


Grain store structure,equipment and residues all threaten the quality of harvested grain.Action should be taken Equipment must function effectively:
well before intake to ensure a contaminant-free environment. – to ensure grain conditioning on intak e ● Clean, check and service key equipment.
Surveys have shown that 10% of farms and 8% of commercial stores had primary pests (Section 7) in empty stores. – to reduce spillage,damage or loss ● Review electrical and mechanical safety.
Cleaning alone will not eliminate all pests in empty stores,nor will pesticide treatment. – for staff safety. ● Ensure staff are trained appropriately.
Good hygiene,effective grain drying and cooling and well-tar geted pest control all combine to maintain grain
quality in store.
Conveying may damage grain and make it more susceptible to insect,mite,fungal and mycotoxin attack.Handling Common structure problems:
equipment should always be adjusted to avoid such damage,eg augers should be run full. – water ingress ● Examine roof for leaks and broken gutters.
– pest entry ● Look for structural defects in walls or evidence of
– harbouring pests ground water ingress.
– risk of contamination. ● Eliminate dead spaces that trap residues or cause
problems with cleaning.
● Proof against rodent and bird entr y.
Use appropriate ● Use shatterproof covers on lights.
equipment for each task.

Dirt and debris:

– shelter pests ● Use an industrial vacuum cleaner. Remove
– contaminate incoming stocks rubbish (including vacuum cleaner contents)
immediately after cleaning.
– hinder proper inspection of equipment and
structure ● Burn or dispose of rubbish well a way from store.
Use insect traps in empty stores to assess if residual – prevent pest detection ● Consider cleaning grain to cut pest risk.
infestations exist,before using pesticides on the fabric. – hinder effective pest control. ● Make final inspection for waste residues.

Store surface treatments

All parts of the stor e, including the inside of bins and other surfaces in contact with Store infestation
grain,may be treated with the following chemicals: The main threat to stored g rain is from pests in ● Monitor store for pests with insect traps.If live
Actellic – pirimiphos-methyl (spray liquid) the store structure. insects are found,treat structure and protect
Reldan 22 – chlorpyrifos-methyl (spray liquid) Bought-in grain or feed,lorries or equipment can incoming grain.
The following product may be applied to the store structur e, including dead spaces,but NOT to surfaces which also introduce storage pests. ● Ensure that properly trained staff or contractor s
come into contact with grain: Current best practice is to use a pesticide only apply treatments to clean,empty stores.
Crackdown Rapide – deltamethrin and synergised pyrethroids (spray liquid) where it is necessar y. ● Use only pesticides, or mixtures, registered for use
Risk should be assessed taking into account in empty grain stores, and approved by customers.
Dust formulations of diatomaceous earth (DE),which act by desiccating insects,may be applied to dead spaces and
structural surfaces.Check whether this treatment is accepted by your buyer. infestation history, physical controls and intended ● Treat all interior surfaces with pesticide or DE,
markets. especially those that might harbour insects,at
Pesticide registrations change.Check current approval status with Pesticides Safety Directorate ( Poorly-sealed storage areas will cause dif ficulties if least three weeks before filling store.
before use. Follow label instructions on use and allow specified time inter vals before storing grain.Record all pesticide use. fumigation is necessar y (see Section 11). ● If store has been infested within past tw o
seasons,apply an insecticide to structure.
Measure the area to be treated,in square metres.Then, following the label instructions,calculate the amount of
● Store all feedstuffs and similar commodities a way
concentrate and the amount of diluted spr ay required. Apply using an appropriate sprayer to ensure even cover.
from the main store.
Before treatment,turn off the mains electrical supply if there is any risk of water-based sprays penetrating
electrical fittings.Protect,or take care not to treat,electric motors and similar equipment.Two days after treatment,
inspect the store and monitor (using insect traps) for live insects.If large numbers are found in a particular area,
investigate and,if necessary, re-clean and re-treat. Cleaning and disinfection
Buildings used for livestock as well as grain ● Power wash building structure.
Alternative building uses storage must be disinfected to reduce risk of ● Disinfect with appropriate food-safe products.
disease transmission before storing grain.
Ideally use dedicated grain stores.Where buildings are also used for animal feed,machinery or livestock care must ● Leave to dr y.
be taken to avoid taints or contamination of subsequently stored grain.
4 5
Moisture management is vital to prevent spoilage in
stored grain.Temperature and moisture interact to
2 MOISTURE provide suitable conditions for fungi and mites.


Relative humidity and moisture content For barley or oilseed rape the relationship would be Moisture content targets
Relative humidity (rh) is a measure of the air’s moistur e different (see graph below). Grain is at risk of spoilage until dried to 14.5% ● Ensure your system has adequate performance.
content.It is expressed as a percentage of the moisture mc for cereals and 7.5% mc for oilseeds. ● Monitor progress of drying until required mc
that it could hold,if fully saturated,at a given is achieved.
temperature.The safe moisture content (mc) of grain
for storage is related to rh.Mould growth and mite
reproduction stop at 65% rh. Moisture content change
Grain moisture content is linked to the relativ e ● After drying,take samples from the bulk each
Moisture change at grain surface humidity of surrounding air and may change over week until grain temperature stabilises.
The grain surface absorbs moisture in winter. Even time. ● Take as many samples as possible and determine
when bulk moisture content is lo w, increases in surface mc without delay. Keep samples in a water-tight
mc can lead to very high mite populations – as the container with minimum free air space and at
example data shows.Such problems are less likely even air temperature.
where initial mc is very lo w. ● Mix each sample thoroughly before checking mc
Initial bulk mc Surface mc Lepidoglyphus using a reliable meter.
in winter mites at surface
13.5% 17.5% 124/kg
15.0% 18.6% 3762/kg
Poor meter calibration is a common cause ● Calibrate moisture meters against o ven standards
16.5% 19.4% 8488/kg
of grain rejection. Species and variety affect each year to ensure accuracy.
The risk of moulds is increased by high mc and can both capacitance and resistance. ● Replace,or recharge,batteries regularly.
lead to mycotoxin production and grain rejection. Moisture measurement
Moisture content is less critical for insects.However, Measurements can be direct or indirect. In the standard
direct method (ISO/BSI ‘Oven method’) a known weight Moisture, mites and moulds
lowering grain mc below 14.5% also reduces rate of
insect breeding and increases development time. of ground grain is dried at 130ºC until dry matter weight After drying,mc of surface layers can rise or fall ● If surface mc rises by 2% or more in a week
remains constant. Duplicate samples must be within due to ambient conditions.This is difficult to check for condensation,leaks,hot spots or
0.15%.Grinding and temperature control are both critical. control.Surface mc may rise to 18% or more, insects.
Equilibrium relative humidity Moisture meters measure mc indirectly using either encouraging mites – generally from October ● If mc (at 1 m or more deep) changes significantly,
Grain exchanges water with surrounding air. In enclosed grain resistance or capacitance.They are less accurate onwards as grain absorbs atmospheric moisture. identify cause – unless a bulk drying system is
spaces, this exchange continues until a balance is (±0.1% at best,usually ±0.5%,sometimes ±1.0%) and being used.
reached – the equilibrium relative humidity (erh). annual calibration is essential.
Erh decreases with temperature (see below).
For a given moisture content cooler grain is safer Moisture and markets
to store because its erh is lower. Many sectors of the cereal g rain market accept ● Always dry grain to at least 14.5% mc for long-
that it is good practice to store g rain at 14.5% term stable storage.
Moisture Wheat temperature mc.However, specific markets have specific ● Dry and cool high mc grain (above 18% mc)
content 5ºC 15ºC 25ºC needs,eg millers require wheat to be safe and fit immediately to prevent mould growth,
for purpose,although most accept wheat at up mycotoxin formation and taint.
16.5% mc 68% erh 74% erh 76% erh
to 15%;maltsters require 13% mc to preserve a
15.5% mc 62% erh 69% erh 71% erh ● Check mc requirements of specific customers.
minimum germination standard of 98%.
14.5% mc 56% erh 64% erh 66% erh
13.5% mc 49% erh 58% erh 59% erh Change in grain weight on drying (or on re-wetting)
Example: 100 tonnes of grain dried from
Key over 65% erh below 65% erh W1(M1 - M2) 20% mc to 15% mc .
X= 100(20 - 15)
For example,the above table shows that at 5ºC,wheat (100 - M 2)
X= = 5.88 tonnes
at 14.5% mc has an erh of 56%.The same grain stored at (100 - 15)
X = weight loss W1 = original weight
25ºC at the same mc has an erh of 66%. Therefore, weight loss (X) is 5.88 tonnes and
W2 = final weight M1 = original mc
M2 = final mc final weight of crop (W 2) is 94.12 tonnes.

6 7
Grain stored for more than a few weeks must
have a moisture content of 14.5% or less to
3 DRYING protect quality and meet contract specifications.
– heated-air
Drying temperatures
There are two basic methods of drying grain – heated-air and bulk drying:
Higher drying temperatures give higher
throughput but excess heat can dama ge quality, ● Set drying temperature carefully. Use
Characteristics of the drying options especially protein functionality and germination. manufacturer’s guidance to meet market quality
Factor Heated-air drying Bulk drying requirements.
The general guideline is a maximum of 65 0C at
Capital costs High Low – the dryer is the grain store. 20% mc, reducing by 1 0C for every 1% increase in ● Consider reducing drying temperature to reduce
initial moisture content. For feed grain, a damage if input mc rises.
Operating costs to remove 5% mc £1.50–2.80/t £1.65–3.65/t
maximum of 120 0C for 1 hour or 100 0C for ● Take particular care when drying malting barley
Grain is dried from 20% to 15% (wet basis) in normal weather conditions using diesel @ 17.5 pence/L (delivered energy value 3.6 MJ/kWh).
3 hours can be used.Maltsters and millers require to the industry standard of 13% mc.Grain
For further details , see K A McLean (1989).
that grain temperatures should not exceed 50ºC.
temperature and the time it spends in the dryer
Speed of drying Fast – hours,as grain layers are shallow Slow – days or weeks,as drying front Dryer manufacturer’s performance tables provide (residence time) are both critical.
and temperatures high. moves through bulk. a guide to drying air temperatures that will not
Management skills required Lower – follow manufacturer’s Higher – need to respond to mc damage grain.
instructions. and weather conditions.
Effects of weather None Wet weather slows drying.
Controlling moisture content
Effects of initial moisture content No real problem – may need to dr y Drying capacity reduces if initial
grain for longer or in two passes. mc is high. Over-drying wastes fuel, reduces dryer throughput ● Use a drying time that gives the correct
and may increase heat damage.Under-drying moisture reduction.
Risks of spoilage Low or zero risk of slow drying. Higher risk of slow drying.
Risk of over-heated grain. Low risk of over-heated grain.
makes spoilage more likely. On a continuous dr yer, ● Use automatic controls where fitted.
manual control is difficult because there is a time
Some risk of over-drying. Some risk of over-drying. ● If controlling manually, adjust grain flow gradually.
lag between grain flow adjustment and full effect.
Increasing risk of ochratoxin A Automatic controls, available for most dryers, ● Consider mixing grain before drying to achie ve
production above 18% mc. measure either grain mc at output or temperatur e uniform mc.
Fungi and mites inevitably increase of exhaust air off the bed.The latter is only ● Dry high moisture content g rain (at or above
ahead of the drying front. effective when removing at least 4% mc at a pass. 18% mc) immediately to avoid risk of mycotoxin

Heated-air drying Safety

Using air heated to 40ºC or higher means that drying is independent of the weather. Grain is in a shallow la yer Light material can build up inside the dryer and ● Pre-clean the grain before drying and clean out
with high airflow so drying is fast.Except in the simplest designs, grain is moved during drying to give more become a fire hazard. the dryer as specified by the manufacturer to
uniform exposure to the air so that o ver-drying and heat dama ge are limited.Dryers have to dry to a target minimise fire risk.
moisture,cool the grain and discharge.Heat, generated from oil or gas,should be applied indirectly
Exposure to dust from grain,as well as noise from ● Comply with COSHH requirements.
wherever possible.
dryers,may be hazardous to health.
There are two drying options:
– Batch, where the dryer is emptied between batches.This type is often mobile.Moisture removal depends on
the drying time,which can be altered to reach a moisture safe for storage.Cooling time can be set
Cooling after drying
independently of drying time.Some batch dryers mix and re-circulate grain while running to give more unifor m
drying. Grain must be cooled after drying to stop insects ● Measure temperature of grain entering store and
breeding. Cooling in a continuous dryer, with cool if necessar y. Set cooling time for batch
– Continuous, where grain is dried without re-circulation.Plant is usually static.The moisture removed depends
high flow ra t e s ,m ay be insufficient. Cooling time dryers to ensure grain approaches ambient
on the drying time,ie time to pass through the heated air section,which is determined by the grain discharge
may be set independently of drying time in temperature.Further cooling will be needed
rate.This also determines cooling time so extra cooling may be needed if grain discharge rate is high.
batch dryers. (see Section 6).
It is important to a void hydrocarbon contamination when using oil-fired ener gy sources.Check burners and set
air:fuel ratios to manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure efficient combustion.Provide adequate ventilation to
prevent fumes being re-circulated into grain.Ensure that burners are serviced and adjusted as recommended by the
Grain that is above 18% mc must be dried immediately. Grain below 18% mc should be cooled,to prevent the
crop heating up,if harvest backlogs delay drying.

Bulk or near-ambient drying

See Section 4

8 9
Near-ambient drying requires fans and ducts
capable of delivering about 20 times the
4 DRYING airflow of cooling systems.
– bulk or near-ambient
Bulk grain, in bin or on-floor, 1.5–4 m deep can be dried by blowing air – only 5ºC warmer than the grain – through Dryer design
i t .D rying typically takes at least 10 days with minimum airflows of 180 m3/hour/tonne (100 ft3/min/tonne).
A good design matches the fan to ducts or drying ● Fit larger fans to provide the air needed in
The challenge is to complete drying before fungi and mites exceed acceptable leve l s .D rying occurs in a layer (the floor as well as g rain bed resistance. A fan has a unfavourable conditions.
drying zone) that develops at the air inlet and then moves through the bulk. Grain ahead of the drying zone remains maximum drying power for a given grain depth
wet and may be wa rm ,p roducing ideal spoilage conditions. Drying zone progress is proportional to air speed. ● Make plans to supplement drying with added heat
and mc. in a wet harvest.
Grain ahead of the drying zone is cooled by ventilation.This may cause some moisture to condense on surface
grain,especially with cool,moist night air above the bulk.However, even when weather conditions do not appear
to suit drying,this cooling has a strong benefit as it retards mite and fungal development.
Grain depth
Running costs for drying by 5%,from 20% to 15%, range from around £1 up to £5 a dried tonne. Poor drying can
incur costs of up to £50 a tonne,including spoilt grain,and still be unsuccessful. Spoilage risk increases as grain depth exceeds a ● Do not pile grain too deep for the fan.Adjust
fan’s design maximum. Airflow will be seriously depth of storage in relation to resistance
Different seeds present different resistances to airflow. Therefore,bed depth must be adjusted according to the
reduced and drying zone advance will be slowed. characteristics.
airflow resistance of the crop (see figure opposite).
For instance,if grain is normally stored at 2.8 m ● Level grain surface after filling.
deep,this depth should be reduced by 0.5 m for
Airflow resistance each percentage point increase in initial g rain
A fan overcomes the resistance of the empty dr yer plus that of the g rain bed to blow enough air through the grain moisture above 20%.
to dry it.If the resistance is too high,the fan pumps insufficient air. Pressure in the air ducts indicates fan
performance. Fan manufacturers supply ‘fan curves’ giving data on air delivery o ver a range of duct pressures.
Additional approaches Drying from 20% mc requires an airflow of at ● Keep perforations in ducts and/or floor clear.
least 180 m 3/hour/tonne to reduce moisture by ● Check that airflow is adequate.Measure airflow
Dehumidifiers remove moisture from air and add heat,to reduce rh to a pre-set value.They even allow drying in 0.5% a day. Airflow resistance depends on crop
wet weather and use electricity ef ficiently. However, capital cost is high and g rain near air inlet may be o ver-dried. at several points using an anemometer or seek
and bed depth. specialist advice.
Grain stirrers are mobile augers mounted on gantries,which traverse the grain to mix dry and un-dried layers.
This effectively speeds the drying front progress and reduces risk of deterioration near the grain surface. Pressure resistance curves ● Do not allow filling auger to dischar ge in one
place for too long as dust build-up will seriously
Vertical aeration is sometimes used to dry grain.However, duct size and spacing need consider able modification
restrict airflo w.
compared with cooling systems.If fans blow, heat can be added to allow drying to a safe moisture content.To
minimise the risk of ochratoxin A production,this technique should only be used with grain below 18% mc. ● Use a grain stirrer to increase airflow and e ven
out moisture content if drying is too slow.

Strategies for managing fans and heaters

Strategy Advantages Disadvantages
Fans run continuously, no Low capital cost. Does not reliably dry grain to saf e
added heat. Keeps grain cool even if air is too mc due to high ambient rh late in
damp for drying. the season.
Fans switched on/off depending on Controls costs when no drying is Extends drying time in damp
mc of wettest grain and air rh: possible. weather which may allow spoilage.
above 20% mc – 100% rh Over-drying near air inlet is likely. Moisture content
18–20% mc – 83% rh If intake mc exceeds dryer specification,spoilage ● Use a sampling spear and an accurate means of
16–18% mc – 72% rh may occur before the drying zone reaches the measuring grain mc to monitor progress of drying
below 16% mc – 62% rh wettest grains.The capacity of e ven a well run zone.
Fans run continuously, heater Air rh can be reduced to allo w Moist grain becomes warm allowing dryer falls by 15% for each 1% mc above 20%. ● Measure mc above each duct to check for blockages.
switched on/off depending on drying in damp weather. faster spoilage. Over-drying near air ● Check inside duct with a torch.
air rh. Electric heating during off-peak hours inlet is likely.
can reduce energy costs.
Complex computer-modelled Control running costs, Not yet fully developed or proven. Operation
strategies. maximise drying capacity and Controller cost may be high. Given an adequate airflow, control of fans and/or ● Before harvest, check and calibrate control
avoid over-drying. heaters is necessary to mana ge costs and achieve equipment,especially humidistats.Locate
good drying.Several strategies are possible humidistats near fan inlets,not in the ducts.
(see box opposite).
10 11
Grain will be relatively warm post-har vest – ideal for

5 TEMPERATURE insect breeding and activity. Grain is a good insulator

and loses heat very slowly.


Insect,mite,fungal and mycotoxin Temperature effects
development are controlled by Cool storage extends grain storage life.It reduces ● Reduce grain temperature by low volume
temperature. At temperatures found in germination loss,maintains baking qualities and aeration:
grain stores,biological activity of insects, protects against infestation. – to below 15ºC within 2–3 weeks to prevent
mites,fungi and grain itself, doubles for
Cool storage permits grain to be stored at higher saw-toothed grain beetles completing their life-
every 10ºC rise in temperature.
moisture contents. cycle.
Insect breeding actually stops at low
Lowering the temperature lowers the relative – to below 12ºC within 4 months to prevent
temperatures. Also,less moisture is
humidity in equilibrium with the mc.This grain weevils completing their life-cycle.
available for potential pests in cold grain.
effectively increases storage time. – to below 5ºC by end-December to kill surviving
Therefore,as g rain comes into store it
should be cooled immediately to prevent – Hot air in a continuous dr yer is likely to adult insects and to prevent mites increasing
insects breeding. Automated disinfest grain. As grain cools naturally it (malting barley should not be cooled belo w
temperature becomes vulnerable to infestation. 10ºC – a practice which may increase the risk
This will even out or equalise temperature gradients
records – Above 40ºC,most insects die within a day. of infestation).
and so prevent moisture translocation.
– Most insects breed rapidly at 25–33ºC.Most – when grain is moist,eg 15–18% mc,while it
insect species do not breed below 15ºC but awaits drying due to har vest backlogs.
Temperatures fall more rapidly and to lower grain weevils can reproduce slowly at 12ºC. EXCEPTION
levels when using automatic compared to Below 5ºC insects cannot feed and slowly die. Dry high moisture content grain (at or above
manual fan control
– Mites and fungi can increase (although ver y 18% mc) immediately to prevent mycotoxin
slowly) down to 5ºC in moist grain. formation.
– Mycotoxin formation is most likely between ● Monitor temperature regularly (every few days
15ºC and 25ºC. until target temperatures are reached,and then
Currently, targets can be achieved in given weekly).
timescales.However, if autumns become warmer
this may become more dif ficult to achieve

Causes of grain heating

Permanent probe arrays can be linked to record When warm air from the centre of a bulk or bin ● Aerate grain immediately post-harvest to even
keeping software to identify potential problems. meets cold grain at the surface,condensation may out temperatures.
occur. Moisture at the surface or in damp pockets ● Check temperatures regularly across the bulk –
Effect of different temperatures on insect and mite infestation risk in the bulk will encourage moulds,heating and particularly areas furthest away from the duct in a
sprouting. blown aeration system or closest in a suction
Risk ºC Effects on insects Risk ºC Effects on mites Developing grain weevils may also generate heat. system.
60 Death in minutes 60 Death in minutes ● Cool intermittently, even when grain temperature
Least Death in hours Least Death in hours
50 50 has fallen,to counteract ‘hot-spots’developing.
Development stops Death in days
40 Development slows 40
No increase
Greatest 30 Maximum development rate 30
Development slows Greatest Maximum development rate
20 20
Development stops but all stages survive Development slows
10 10
Insect death in months,movement stops
0 0 Lowest development rate
(fungi can still grow slowly in damp grain)
-10 Death in weeks -10 Death in weeks
Least Least
-20 Death in minutes,insects freeze -20 Death in minutes, mites freeze

12 13
Grain must be cooled rapidly to reduce relative

6 COOLING humidity and prevent pest increase. Much less

air is needed to cool grain than to dry it.


How cooling progresses through a grain bulk Airflow
An airflow of about 10 m3/hour/tonne is needed ● Use an anemometer to measure airflow in a
for cooling taking into account air volumes,insect measuring duct of appropriate diameter and length
breeding rate and hours of cool air available placed in front of or after the fan.
post-harvest. ● Alternatively use a commercial service.
Fans need to provide sufficient pressure to ● Do NOT use a floatmeter.This is only used for
overcome resistance due to crop,depth and duct measuring airflow in an ambient air drying system.
● Ensure cooling capacity is adequate for depth of
Ducts need to be of suf ficient diameter and have crop stored.
sufficient perforated area to minimise resistance to
Grain must be cooled rapidly by blowing cooler ambient air through a warmer grain bulk. As this differential ● Ensure fan power and duct size are adequate for
the required airflow.
temperature increases, cooling rate accelerates. Using low volume aeration (c. 10 m3/hour/tonne or 6 ft3/min/tonne) stored crop.Seek specialist advice.
a cooled ‘front’moves slowly through the grain over a period of weeks until the grain is almost uniformly cool.
The first target is to cool the grain to below 15ºC within a fortnight, to prevent saw-toothed grain beetles developing, Air volumes for cooling
and then to below 12ºC as quickly as possible to prevent all insects breeding (150–200 hours of aeration).
A bulk drying system used for cooling will achieve ● Use appropriate fan sizes,speeds and aeration
Blowing ambient air through the bulk is a low cost way to cool (5–10p a tonne). Fans are most efficiently the same temperature reduction in a tenth of the times for cooling.
controlled automatically. Differential thermostats measure temperature of grain and ambient air. Fans are switched time taken by low volume aeration.Careful ● Reduce cooling time by 90% if using a bulk
on when the ambient temperature falls below that of the grain.A dif ferential setting of 4–6ºC provides the most monitoring is needed to pr event moisture re- drying fan.
rapid and cost-effective cooling. A differential thermostat installation (costing £300–£600) may be used to control deposition. Fan temperature rise may limit cooling.
fans in a nest of bins or in a flat store. ● Monitor hours to avoid dampening and
limit costs.
Automated temperature monitoring systems may also be used to control fans through relays. A timeswitch allows
further efficiency through use of off-peak tariffs. Alternatives to differential thermostats include timeclocks,
conventional thermostats and manual control. Using a differential thermostat will ensure most efficient grain cooling.
Aeration takes time to cool g rain effectively. ● Start cooling immediately, as beetles quickly begin
Damp air and cooling – a myth
However, there are always adequately long cool to breed.
Farmers lose many opportunities to cool grain due to the misconception that blowing damp air will increase grain periods after harvest in the UK. ● Monitor grain temperatures (every few days until
moisture.In fact,if blowing with cooler air (4–6ºC dif ferential),it is not possible to dampen grain.
Stores are normally designed for cereals.Oilseed target temperatures reached,then weekly).
Thirty years’ experience shows that grain around 15% mc usually loses 0.25–0.5% mc during 150–300 hours of rape has a much higher resistance to airflow
aeration with cooler air at recommended rates in a normal storage season. It does not become damp. (see Section 13).
The only circumstances in which grain may become more damp from blowing require combinations of: excessive
aeration rates; very dry g rain;condensation around ducts in spring; rain driven into uncovered external fans;
successive days of condensing fog.
Cooling costs
Sucking air through grain may increase natural dampening at the grain surface during winter. This dampening
Cooling costs relate directly to hours of aeration. ● Install an hours meter if fan is controlled
front may extend to one-third of grain depth.
Vertical aeration
● Manually record hours fan runs.
Cooling is just as ef fective through vertical as through horizontal ducts.Capital cost is lower and risk of dama ging
ducts during unloading in flat stores is reduced.Blowing air into the duct will cool 20% more grain than sucking.
Depending on grain depth,spacing ducts 4–8 m apart should be suitable for an average flat store of cereals.
– Grain does not cool at all ● Use a probe to monitor temperature at se veral
Upward versus downward aeration
– Very slow cooling depths to ensure cooling is e ven.
Blowing air up through g rain is preferable to sucking Suction can be useful if:
– Uneven cooling ● Check fan is running and turning in correct
air down because: i. condensation on the inside of roofs is a problem, direction.Check ducts are not blocked.Chec k
i. blowing improves air distribution although good ventilation can overcome this control system and differential thermostat setting.
ii. ‘problems’ rise to the surface (NB Suction may dampen grain surface layers)
● Investigate airflow rates.Use larger fan(s) or restrict
iii. fan heating reduces rh of blown air ii. there is a risk of water entering aeration ducts number of ducts blown at any time.
iv. warm,damp air is flushed from the building iii. grain depth is so great that excessive temperature
● Check ducts are not blocked.Look for isolated faults
v. cooling can start as soon as ducts are covered. rise would occur with blowing.
in a multi-fan system.

14 15
Insects contaminate and cause direct damage to
stored grain.The trade does not tolerate insect

7 INSECTS pests so it is important to identify, monitor and

control them.


Some insects are specialised pests of stored foodstuffs,including grain.They dama ge and contaminate grain but do Field insects, eg clover weevil can occur in small ● Identify insects accurately and seek confirmation
not infest UK field crops. numbers in newly har vested grain,but cause little (preferably in writing) of pest status.
damage and die out quickly in store.However,
Beetles and moths only breed at relatively high temperatures.Cooling significantly slows or prevents development
misidentification by purchasers may still cause
of problems in stores.
Grain weevils were the traditional pest of stored g rain in the UK because they bore into grain,and can overwinter.
The saw-toothed grain beetle,a tropical species,probably became more dominant with the advent of the combine
harvester which damaged grain sufficiently to allow feeding,while the continuous dryer raised the initial Primary storage insects (beetles and moths) ● Monitor stored grain for insects. Ensure
temperature of stored grain. invade grain from previous harvest residues,are temperature and mc are low enough to suppress
Psocids,winged or wingless booklice,are often conspicuous in traps or running along structures.Their moisture specialised for the grain storage environment and breeding.
requirement is similar to that of mites,although they are more persistent in dry conditions.It is not known if they breed at low moisture content and relatively low ● Consider physical control techniques, eg cleaning
damage grain directly. temperature (see box opposite). which may be effective but are demanding on
There may be a succession of insect infestations within a store.Weevils breed at relatively low temperature. A few species,eg grain weevil develop inside grain resources.
However, activity of the last lar val stage can raise grain temperature locally and damage grain sufficiently to allow making early detection difficult. ● Treat when detected.Emerging adults may
saw-toothed grain beetles to breed.Further grain temperature increase encourages rust-red grain beetles.Mould- indicate established infestation.
feeding beetles,mites and booklice may follow as moisture content increases. ● Assess the effectiveness of treatment.

Insect breeding requirements and possible rates of insect increase

Secondary storage insects, eg fungus feeders, ● Monitor for, and remove potential sources of,
Species Common name Breeding Maximum monthly spider beetles and booklice may invade grain from such pests.
temperature (ºC) increase nearby sources,eg haystacks.They only damage ● Practise good hygiene.
Minimum Optimum poorly conditioned or already infested grain.
● Consider applying control measures.
Cryptolestes ferrugineus rust-red grain beetle 23 32–35 x 60 Occurrence is seasonal and populations build up
Oryzaephilus saw-toothed grain beetle 21 31–34 x 50
Sitophilus granarius grain weevil 12 26–30 x 15 Beneficial insects (predators of storage pests) ● Monitor stores and grain.
Ptinus fur white-marked spider beetle 10 21–25 x2 occur in stores or on g rain.Their ef fectiveness ● Identify beneficial insects.They may indicate
Endrosis sarcitrella white-shouldered house moth 10 24–26 x 30 against insects is limited and g rain may be rejected primary pest infestations that require control.
if any insects are found.
Hofmannophila brown house moth 13 24–26 x2

Resistance to pesticides makes some insects, ● Avoid resistance build-up.

Other insect sources eg saw-toothed grain beetle hard to control.This ● Focus on non-chemical means – cooling g rain will
A few insect species can f ly in to stores during hot weather.These can cause grain to be rejected, even when does not mean that they cannot be controlled by reduce risk of infestation and insect survival.
storage conditions prevent insects completing their life cycles in the store. admixture or residual tre a t m e n t s .D eveloping
● Use chemical treatments as a last resort.
resistance may reduce the effective life of
residual treatments or increase the time taken to ● Consider fumigating infestations of resistant pests.
Detection achieve control. ● Apply pesticides correctly – resistance only
Insects are relatively small (3–6 mm) and dif ficult to find.As more samples are taken (see Section 14), chances of develops if pests survive treatment.
detection increase.Even a single insect in a 1 kg sample may represent potentially serious infestation.

Prevention,using cooling and drying,is preferable to chemical control.However, if monitoring shows infestation is
present or levels are rising,pesticide use is justified (see Section 11).

16 17
Storage mites are extremely small but widely
distributed.While difficult to detect when
present in low numbers, they can lead to
8 MITES increased risk of rejection.


Generally less than 0.5 mm long,pale coloured and eight legged,mites are ubiquitous.They feed on a great variety Prevention
of materials.They lack ef fective waterproofing,dry out easily and die at low rh.Most do not breed at below 65% rh. Mites breed very rapidly and can survive ● Dry cereals to below 14.5% mc and oilseed
Storage mites can breed very rapidly under favourable conditions.Several million have been found in 1 kg of stored unfavourable conditions as “resting stages”. rape to below 7.5% (in equilibrium with an rh
foodstuff. Mites are strongly allergenic,although most people and animals only show allergic reactions when in Mites damage grain directly by eating the ger m of 65% or less at a temperature of 15ºC).
contact with very lar ge populations of mites. or hollowing out oilseeds.For grain sold to ● Aerate to cool to below 5ºC.
Mites can cause direct damage and taint stored grain.They may car ry fungal spores and bacteria such as intervention there is a zero tolerance of mites. ● Monitor store structure using mite traps.Look
Salmonella. Mites have been detected in a significant percenta ge of cereal-based foodstuffs.Resistance to common In practice it is not possible to exclude mites particularly for heavily infested areas.
organophosphorous grain protectants is now widespread and control failures are likely. from stores.However, thorough store
preparation minimises “carry-over”.
Common species Mites often occur in lar ge numbers in debris.
● Acarus siro, flour mite generally lives inside grain and damages germ.The limits for complete development are They are indistinguishable from dust to the
2–30ºC at above 60–65% rh.At 25ºC and 90% rh it can multiply sevenfold in one week. naked eye.
● Lepidoglyphus (Glycyphagus) destructor, cosmopolitan food mite is generally found on the grain surface
and around debris.Its growth limits are similar to A.sir o but it only has a fourfold weekly increase at 25ºC
and 90% rh. Surface moisture
● Tyrophagus putrescentiae, mould mite requires damper, warmer conditions often in association with fungi.Its After drying, grain surface mc will increase during ● Store grain as dry as possible.
minimum requirement is 7–10ºC and the most rapid development occurs at 32ºC,98–100% rh.A close relative, the winter months.Mite populations will build up ● Monitor mc of grain surface during winter and
T. longior, is more common in cooler UK conditions. at the surface.Storing grain below 13% mc will spring using traps,or by sieving a spear sample.
ensure that the risk of mite population build-up
● Cheyletus eruditus, a predatory species (particularly on A.siro) develops down to 55% rh.It increases one to ● Apply DE,where accepted by buyer, to grain
is negligible.
fourfold each week between 10ºC and 30ºC but can survive for 6 months at 0ºC.Higher temperature and lower surface to prevent/control infestations.
moisture requirements means it usually peaks in summer during prolonged storage.Its presence indicates pest Mite numbers will decline naturally as the surface
problems in store. Cheyletus is naturally very tolerant to the OPs used to control grain pests. mc declines in the spring.

Control methods for mites Control

Control option Advantages Disadvantages A single control option is unlikely to be Ideally use combinations of physical control methods
Physical Dry cereals to less than No residues Higher drying cost sufficient. in preference to chemical ones (see box opposite).
14.5% mc;rapeseed to 7.5% No residual control if mc rises Physical Physical
Turn and clean No residues and Risk of taint from cleaning Grain can be dried and cooled to reduce ● Re-dry grain.
grain as required low cost and allergens still present risk of mite infestation. ● Turn and clean grain.
No residual control Conveying and cleaning combined kills ● Consider applying DE if permitted,to control
Cool grain to below 5ºC No pesticide residues and Effectiveness depends on time 75% to 90% of mites.They are crushed by mites in cooled grain (see Section 11).
low cost of year and ambient temperatures moving grain,then sieved or aspirated by
Chemical* Apply permitted chemicals Easy to achieve Relatively costly – may be short- the cleaner. However, mites inside the
grain germ survive and populations can Chemical
on intake lived on warm grain
build up quickly again,so this only offers ● Admix cereals with an appr oved pesticide at
Cannot be used for oilseed rape
a temporary measure. intake if a quick sale is required to a zero
Apply diatomaceous Easy to achieve Slow in action and must be tolerance market
earth to surface combined with cooling and drying
Chemical Recommended application rates of approved
Fumigation Rapid treatment Requires specialist contractor OPs will not control predatory mites.
Requires no farm labour Storage situation may make it Chemical control should only be used
when grain cannot be dried and cooled. ● Apply surface treatments to control some
difficult to achieve mite species.Low ambient winter
OP dusts are no longer available for top-
More costly dressing.Mite numbers will decline temperatures and/or resistance may reduce
Effective sealing can be difficult naturally as the surface mc declines in pesticide efficacy.
No residual protection the spring. ● Fumigate with phosphine.Generally two
treatments separated by 5 to 10 days are
* Check the acceptability of any treatment with potential buyers. required as eggs are tolerant.Research shows
that a single fumigation can be effective.

18 19
Commonest primary pests Secondary pests Pest mites Moths
Can increase rapidly and damage grain stored Cannot complete their life-cycles at 14.5% mc Normally only a problem on damper surface of May be seen flying in summer. Webbing
at 14.5% mc. or below. Feed primarily on fungi. Can invade dry bulk. produced by larvae may clump grains together.
grain stores in large numbers from outside and Mainly occur on surface of bulk, also infest and
feed directly on grain. breed in debris.

Grain weevil Hairy fungus beetle Flour mite Brown house moth
Sitophilus granarius Typhaea stercorea Acarus siro Hofmannophila
Develops inside the grain. Often associated with Indicates bulk mc is higher pseudospretella
Causes heating. stored straw and hay, as than recommended.Internal Often associated with
Difficult to find. well as damp residues. feeder which can build up animal feeds.
massive populations.

Saw-toothed grain beetle Foreign grain beetle Cosmopolitan food mite White-shouldered
Oryzaephilus surinamensis Ahasverus advena Lepidoglyphus destructor house moth
Only develops on damaged Increasingly common in Surface feeder usually Endrosis sarcitrella
surface of grain. UK.Very mobile and a present in low to moderate Slow to develop in old
Very active and easy to common cause of numbers. grain or feed residues.
trap. rejection.

Rust-red grain beetle Fungus beetles Grainstack mite Moth larva

Cryptolestes ferrugineus eg Cryptophagus species Tyrophagus longior Distinguished from beetle
Penetrates grain through Frequent in damp,mouldy Initial infestations often larvae by dark head
minute cracks. residues and can wander occur during bulk drying capsule.
Can f ly in hot UK into stored grain. operations.Requires high
summers. mc and temperature.

Australian spider beetle

Other primary pests Predatory & other mites Booklice
Ptinus tectus
Occasionally found on UK grain but require Large numbers indicate high temperatures and Considerable numbers may build up at grain
high temperatures and do not overwinter well. Seldom found in UK grain, previous infestations. surface, mainly in winter. Can be clearly seen
but survives in structure of running over storage structures.
warmer stores.

Rice weevil White-marked spider beetle Predatory mite – wingless

Sitophilus oryzae/zeamais Ptinus fur Cheyletus eruditus Require damper
Mainly associated with Numbers can take years to Preys on pest mites as well conditions,ubiquitous in
imported feedstuffs.Can build up.Can survive long as small beetle and moth UK.
move into stored grain. periods in an inactive form. larvae.
Eggs laid inside grain.

Lesser grain borer Plaster beetle Gamasidae – winged

Rhyzopertha dominica Lathridiidae Long-legged fast movers Can be found in
may prey on pest mites. spectacular numbers,
Eggs laid on grain surface, Very small black beetles
Individuals may also be especially around edges
larvae burrow inside to which flourish in damp,
blood feeders on rodents of grain bulk. Pest status
develop. mouldy residues.
not clear.

Rust-red flour beetle Insect stages

Tribolium castaneum Beetle larva
Requires a high proportion Jaws often distinguish
of damaged grains to these from moth lar vae.
thrive. Frequently found in
animal feed mills.

20 21
In the right conditions fungi develop rapidly
causing loss of germination, discolouration,

10 FUNGI tainting with off-odours, and rejection.


The species of fungi which infect stored g rain do not infect growing crops. Detection
Storage fungi can grow on grain from about 14.5% mc upwards.They cause heating and germination loss.Some Visibly mouldy grain will be already tainted and ● Monitor grain mc and temperature.Increasing
produce potent toxins.However, mycotoxin production is only likely from 18% mc and above. The drier and cooler mycotoxin production may have started.Fungal moisture and/or temperature indicate fungal or
the storage conditions,the safer grain is from fungal attack as shown in the figure. mycelium and spores may be seen.Some species insect activity.
of mites feed on fungi and may mask evidence of ● Do not sniff mouldy g rain – spores can cause
Different types of fungi thrive at different moisture contents and temperatures in stored grain fungal growth. Absence of visible mould does not “farmers’lung”.
guarantee freedom from mycotoxins.

Physical treatment
A – Aspergillus species which Storage fungi grow within a narrow range of ● Dry grain to 14.5% mc or belo w.
may damage germination moisture and temperature.They continue g rowing or
and cause slow heating. slowly at near 0ºC,so cooling alone is insufficient
● Store grain in an airtight silo.
B – Penicillium species, for long-term storage of damp grain.No storage
including those that fungi will grow below 14.5% mc.
produce mycotoxins.
C – Advanced decay/field
Chemical treatment (animal feed only)
fungi,eg Fusarium species
and heating organisms,eg – Caustic soda-treated grain swells making silo ● Apply caustic soda solution – either 30–45 g
Absidia species which may storage impractical.Treatment offers no long- solid,or 47% solution.
be pathogenic causing, for term protection against insects or mites. or
instance, farmers' lung. – Propionic acid allows storage of damp grain ● Apply propionic acid at 5.5 L/tonne at 16% mc,
D – Thermophilic fungi,which but offers no long-term protection against to 14.5 L/tonne at 32% mc.
thrive at very high insects or mites.
temperatures,such as
occur in compost bins.
Mycotoxins formed before harvest,such as ● Dry wet grain immediately to prevent OA
Fusarium toxins,are stable and likely to remain production which occurs above 18% mc.
Options for preventing fungal attack in store during storage. ● Use ventilation to cool damp grain,which is
Advantages Disadvantages Ochratoxin A (OA) can be produced by temporarily stored at lower mc.This will not
Drying Also controls mites Capital cost of heated-air drying Penicillium verrucosum in UK-stored grain.Other prevent some deterioration from fungi and mites.
Grain not killed High running costs mycotoxins may also be formed in stor e.
Permanent protection Mycotoxins are produced at a slightly higher mc.
Airtight Grain rolled for feed does not Grain killed – only usable for animal feed – Penicillium verrucosum grows above 17% mc
need dampening Carbon dioxide hazard and between 5ºC and 40ºC.
Air entry during unloading may allow deterioration – Highest risk is associated with floor-dried bulks
(near-ambient drying).
Caustic soda Digestibility improved Grain killed – only usable for animal feed
– EU maximum permissible level for OA in
Need for rolling eliminated Corrosive – safety measures required
cereals is 5 ppb for cereals.
Organic acids Saves cost of drying Grain killed – only usable for animal feed
– Sampling and analysis for mycotoxin presence
Corrosive – safety measures required is expensive.
A rapid test for OA is being developed with HGCA
EU maximum permissible limits for aflatoxins in cereals came into force on 30 June 1999.However, these funding.
mycotoxins rarely occur in UK-stored grain.In 2002,EU regulations set maximum permissible levels for
ochratoxin A at 5 parts per billion (ppb) for cereals.Where grain is stored above 18% mc,these levels can be Incomplete or slow drying can lead to mouldy
exceeded in just two weeks. grain and mycotoxin production.


22 23
Pesticides which kill insects and mites can be used to
treat storage structures and grain and play a useful
11 PESTICIDES part in Integrated Pest Management.


Residual pesticides offer some protection over a Fumigants offer no lasting,or residual,activity but can To treat or not?
prolonged period after application. penetrate and disinfest static bulks.If applied correctly Treatment of storage structures may reduce risk ● Monitor for insect pests.Only treat if pests
Sprays can be applied to surfaces of empty, clean stores, they will control all sta ges (including eggs) of of pests entering stored g rain. are found. (Consider using non-chemical
to help reduce the risk of pests moving into stored infestation in one treatment. treatments.)
Very few pesticides are approved for direct
grain. Pesticides which farmers can admix with grain Phosphine is a fumigant gas generated from aluminium application to grain.They may not be necessary ● Keep records of all treatments applied.
bulks to offer some protection from infestation are ver y or magnesium phosphide formulations. For effective or acceptable for some markets. ● Cool grain as quickly as possible after drying.
limited.In autumn 2003,only Reldan 22 and Actellic D treatment, grain must be held in gas-proof bins or bulks
Pesticides work more quickly in warmer, drier Avoid treating warm,moist grain with a residual
may be used. Costs are around 50p–£1 a tonne sealed to minimise fumigant loss.The gas atmosphere
conditions but residual life is increased in cooler, insecticide.
protected. must be maintained for at least se veral days.In the UK,
drier grain.
Residual insecticides may take time to control an phosphine can only be applied by a professional
existing infestation.Heavy infestations in a store will not servicing company. Once ‘aired-off’,phosphine gives no
be eradicated by structural treatment alone. residual protection against re-infestation. Admixture
For lasting protection keep grain below 10ºC and 14.5% If applying pesticide direct to g rain,use an ● Apply correct dose accurately.
mc,and isolate from re-infestation sources. Guideline costs of fumigation accurate dose to ensure ef fective control and do ● Treat close to end of con veyor system when
Pesticides used on malting barley must be approved by ● £3 a tonne for small bulks not exceed the maximum label recommendation. filling empty store to reduce pesticide loss.
the British Beer & Pubs Association (BBPA) and the ● £1 a tonne for larger stores Dosage should be consistent and e venly applied,
● Before moving infested grain,treat whole
Scottish Whisky Association (SWA). using specialised equipment.
● 50–80p a tonne for prophylactic treatment applied structure with insecticide to reduce pest spread.
shortly after har vest. Infestation may be restricted to the surface la yers
● Consider DE for localised treatment if accepted
of a grain bulk (especially mites in late autumn).
Choosing pesticide treatment by the target market.
EMPTY STORE Diatomaceous earth (DE) acts by desiccating insects ● Always record pesticide usage on the grain
and mites,but can be slow acting,particularly against passport.
Infestation previous year? weevils. DE only suits local treatment, not bulk
Yes No admixture, as it interferes with grain flow. Preventative
applications should be at a rate of 1g/kg;while existing Admixture efficacy
Treat fabric Monitor
mite and insect infestations will require 3g/kg.
Insects in traps?* Application rate must match conveyor speed to ● Check time taken to empty or fill a known
Monitor Surface treatments must be combined with
Insects in traps?*
ensure efficient admixture. weight of grain.
Yes No drying and cooling. Always check market
Complete control of insects should occur in 2 to 4 ● Calibrate flow rate by continuously weighing
No Yes acceptability before using DE. Some buyers may
days at above 15ºC but may take 10 to 14 days grain,if appropriate.
reject DE-treated grain.
Admix on intake below 10ºC.Immature weevils inside grains may ● Monitor treated grain for surviving insects.
particularly if grain cannot Modified atmospheres (eg air with less than 1% survive treatment.
be cooled rapidly oxygen due to enrichment with nitrogen or carbon
Cool rapidly
dioxide) take 20 days at 25ºC and 60 days at 15ºC to
control internally infesting species.However species Resistance to organophosphates
externally feeding are controlled in just 2–10 days.
Insects in traps?* No Mite resistance to pesticides may cause treatment ● Consider physical control options (turning
Yes Safety first failure.Cur rently no approved OP pesticides are and drying).
effective against predatory mites.
Insect numbers increase Continue
Train operatives.
week on week to monitor When using undiluted chemicals:
Yes No – wear rubber or pvc gloves Fumigation
– treat skin contamination Grain needs to be infestation-free before sale. ● Have infested grain fumigated before sale.
Assess reasons
for failure – discard contaminated clothing. Incoming stocks can be fumigated as a precaution. ● Contact the British Pest Control Association
Check conveying rate and sprayer output when admixing. Treatment is only effective in bins or bulks (Tel:01332 294288) or an approved specialist
Fumigate or admix
proofed against gas escape. contractor to carry out treatment.
Record pesticide use and grain quantity treated.
SALE Toxicity varies with species and temperature. ● Seal cracks,crevices and walls of the structur e
Avoid waste by only making up quantities needed.
Higher doses are needed for mite eggs. before grain is fumigated.
Rinse empty pesticide containers. Add rinsings to spray tank.
* Confirm insects in traps are primary pests In cooler grain,gas distribution can be uneven. ● Line leaky bins with low density polysheet before
Wear face-shield if spraying overhead. grain filling to improve sealing if fumigating.
before treating.
Follow Defra/HSE guidelines for disposal of empty pesticide ● Use gas re-circulation systems for improved
containers. efficacy.
24 25
12 RODENTS & BI RDS Vertebrate pests threaten stored grain through
feeding,contamination and structural damage.


Legislation,codes of practice,and quality assurance schemes all require rodent and bird management programmes Rats & mice
as part of good grain storage.Principal risks from these pests are disease transmission, grain spoilage and Rodents enter stores,damage and contaminate ● Prevent entry by ef fective structural proofing.
contamination,and structural damage. food and feed. ● Remove potential harbourages.
A juvenile mouse can enter via a gap of only 5 mm.
Pest exclusion is the primary aim of management programmes,bac ked up where necessary by approved lethal
control measures. Rats normally migrate into buildings during late ● Monitor stores and environs carefully during
autumn and winter. autumn and winter.
Rodents ● Respond immediately to signs of rat activity.
Approved rodenticides may be used,provided non-target animals cannot access the poisons.Certain lethal,or ‘live
capture’,traps can also be used. Rats tend to avoid new objects (eg a bait ● Leave bait boxes in place for several days/weeks
container) and are wary of any novel food. before moving to alternative locations.
Poisons can be either acute (fast-acting) or chronic (delayed action).The latter are the most commonly used.
Chronic baits usually have an anticoagulant action.Anticoagulant active ingredients fall into two sub-groups: first Rats require access to ‘free water’ ● Eliminate water sources where possible.
and second generation;the latter being more potent.Anticoagulants cause haemorrhaging leading to death se veral
days after bait consumption. Some rat populations are insensitive to se veral ● Seek specialist advice to determine if resistance is
anticoagulant baits. a problem,when control is difficult to achieve.
Examples of the main ingredients of commercially available rodenticides ● Consider alternative control strategies.
First generation Second generation
warfarin diphacinone difenacoum bromadialone Mice are inquisitive and very a gile animals. ● Place baits at many locations.
chlorophacinone coumatetralyl brodifacoum* flocoumafen* ● Use small amounts of bait at each location.

* indoor use only

Rodenticides may present a risk to non-target ● Protect non-target animals from baits.
A challenge is to ensure that bait, rather than readily-accessible foods,is eaten.Mice and rats respond differently to animals. ● Consider using specialist bait bo xes or
baits,in terms of behaviour and also tolerance:
● Rats are ‘shy’of new objects in their surroundings (neophobia),while mice are more inquisitive.
● Mice feed more erratically than rats.Therefore many more bait points are required for mouse control.
● Anticoagulants are more effective against rats than mice. Birds
● Mice are generally insensitive to first generation For more detailed Birds contaminate grain.Infestations can cause ● Prevent entry by proofing.
anticoagulants.Calciferol-based rodenticides (eg Sorexa CD) or information on direct (feeding) losses. ● Use appropriate mesh or plastic curtains to ‘seal’
second generation anticoagulants (eg brodifacoum or controlling rats even larger spaces.
flocoumafen) should be used. and mice in and
around grain Birds are attracted by food,eg spilled grain. ● Sweep up any grain spillage.
● Rats have to drink water to survive;mice do not.
stores see
● Rats usually migrate into stores during autumn/early winter; Rodent control in
mice are resident year round. agriculture – a
Resistance has developed in some UK rat populations and can guide (2002).
lead to control failures, even when an approved product is used
correctly. Failure,or slower action,of previously effective
treatments may indicate resistance.If you suspect resistance is
present,contact Defra or CSL for specialist advice.

All birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act,1981.However, listed pest species can be killed or
taken for specific purposes including protecting public health and pr eventing significant financial loss.General
licences allow certain species – eg feral pigeons,collared doves,starlings and house sparrows – to be killed,taken
or their eggs and nests destroyed.Licence enquiries should be made to Defra.
Effective proofing to prevent bird access is usually adequate.
26 27
Storing oilseeds presents different challenges to
cereals.Crops should be dried and cooled in shallower
bulks, then stored at a lower moisture content.
Effects of seed size on airflow In rapeseed 7.5%–8% mc is in equilibrium with ● Dry seed to 7.5–8% mc for safe storage.
Free fatty acids increase rapidly in broken
Small seed size means grain flows very easily.This can seed during storage
65% rh.This is below the minimum requirement ● Dry and cool high mc grain immediately.
lead to leakage and blocked ducts which can restrict for mite and mould de velopment.
airflow for drying and cooling.
Even when properly contained,the small seeds of Oilseed rape seed becomes brittle if: ● Match air temperature to moisture content of
oilseed rape offer increased resistance to airflow so seed being dried (see safe drying temperatures
– dried to a very low mc
bulk depth should be reduced,or fan capacity opposite).
increased.A sur vey has shown that many storekeeper s – dried too fast
● Manage drying temperature to a void burnt seed.
consider rapeseed and cereals in the same way. In fact – air temperatures used are too high.
each crop requires different treatment.

Moisture content,seed breakage and oil content Storage mc is related to change in f fa content,as ● Handle oilseed rape very carefully, eg ensure
The high oil content means that the relative humidity: seed at below 6 % mc is very brittle. augers run full.
moisture content relationship is very dif ferent from that ● Regulate drying so that no seed is below 6% mc.
of cereals (see Section 2). The safe mc for storing
rapeseed is about half that of cereals. Other causes of oilseed spoilage
However, rapeseed becomes very brittle at low mc so Mites,insects and fungi can all degrade oil content. Slow drying and/or cooling will encourage mites ● Reduce bed depth by 50–70% if using systems
over-drying can be a problem.The proportion of Mites pose the biggest threat to oilseed rape because and mould growth which may lead to mycotoxin designed for conventional cereals storage.
broken seed increases rapidly below 7% mc;and seed seed at the surface of a bulk absorbs moisture over formation. ● Consider purpose-built storage for oilseeds.Note,
under 6% mc is not accepted by crushers. winter allowing mite populations to expand rapidly. Reduced airflow, compared to that normally used this is costly and may be impractical.
Oilseed rape is less susceptible to insect attack than for cereals,MAY be adequate for cooling dried ● Cool grain rapidly after drying.
Seed breakage rises as moisture content falls cereals.However, moths may form light infestations at rapeseed as the threat from insects is less.
the surface of seed bulks.Infestations of saw-toothed Low temperatures help protect against ffa increases.
and merchant grain beetles (Oryzaephilus) have been
No residual pesticides are currently registered for The merchant grain beetle, O. mercator and the ● Dry and cool oilseed rape properl y.
use on rapeseed. saw-toothed grain beetle, O. surinamensis can
The lowest mc for growth of the OA-producing fungus, establish small populations.No insecticides are
Penicillium verrucosum, is around 10% in rapeseed.No available for admixture.
regulatory limits exist for this toxin in rapeseed at present.
Immature seed may appear red in store and look
Mites develop rapidly in damp seed.They damage ● Store seed at 7.5% mc (65% erh).
distinctly green when crushed.They present problems
for marketing and may cause heating in store.
seed, raise ffa levels and may directly reduce oil ● Consider phosphine treatment if mite infestations
yield. develop in incor rectly dried grain.
Safe drying temperatures and moisture content
Seed must be handled carefully as free fatty acid (ffa) Safe drying temperature Immature seed can cause heating, rapid ● Manage proportion of green seeds by:
content increases rapidly in broken seed.This is
Seed moisture Seed moisture deterioration of the oil fraction and affect oil – leaving seeds in the swath for four days
important as high f fa may cause oil degradation after
content content colour, making it less acceptable.This has been
crushing. – drying at safe temperature
Crop usage above 10% mc above 12.5% mc ‘flagged’as a commercial concern.
Seed must not be allowed to heat up before drying. – aerating store intermittently to remove
High temperatures can result in burnt seed and high Seed crop 49ºC 43ºC generated heat.
ffa levels. Commercial 82ºC 71ºC
There is little lee-way between the safest mc for (mixed during
prolonged,sta ble storage (7.5–8%) and the lowest drying) Rapeseed is very likely to leak from most bins. ● Seal bins with tape to contain rapeseed.
acceptable mc (6%).Good practice requires careful Commercial 71ºC 60ºC ● Cover ducts with hessian to pr event leakage of
drying and accurate moisture meter calibration. (unmixed rapeseed.
Drying to below the 9% mc contract level may incur during drying)
extra cost.However, a small increase in oil content
will partly offset this.

28 29
Monitoring physical factors from empty store
onwards is vital to achieve long-term, stable
grain storage.
Monitoring and sampling Pest monitoring
In the first edition of ‘The grain storage 1 PREPARATION Invertebrate pests are very small and difficult to ● Look for signs of insects,mites, rodents or birds.
guide’, 1999 the sampling section covered detect. ● If insects are not seen,place insect traps in store
two related aspects: Clean, empty stores are monitored for insect pests using
insect traps and for rodents using bait points. Vertebrate pests can go unnoticed.Evidence of and examine after seven days (ensure bait bags
● determining grain quality for end use, past rodent infestations will persist. are not left in the store).
Detecting insects in the empty store allows decisions to be
eg germination for malting barley, protein
made about need for fabric treatments before grain goes Treatments should only be used when pests are ● Identify insects accurately.
for milling wheat, oil and free fatty acid present.
into store. ● Monitor rodent baiting stations weekly.
for rapeseed.
● monitoring physical and biological
aspects of grain and the storage
Measurements confirm that grain off a hot-air ● Locate the drying front by withdrawing samples
environment before and during storage.
In 2003, a specific HGCA publication 'Grain
2 MOISTURE dryer is at the required mc. from different depths,or by probing the slowest-
They also indicate the prog ress of a drying front drying column using a moisture spear.
sampling - a farmer's guide' focused on Grain moisture content is an important measure. It reflects
with ambient-air or bulk drying.In an upwards ● Take samples each month at the surface during
grain quality sampling.Therefore,the risk of infestation and moulds.
(blowing) drying system the slowest drying area winter.
information below focuses on monitoring to
preserve storage quality. will be near the surface and between ducts or
Monitoring during storage requires a wider between the duct and the store wall.
range of techniques than sampling for Dry grain can absorb moisture at the surface
quality. Stored grain and oilseeds are during winter.
monitored to establish if deterioration is
occurring; or whether drying and cooling are
effective and targets achieved. Cooling and drying performance depends on the ● Use an hours meter and record fan hours weekly.
Changes to grain quality can be predicted by 4&6 DRYING and COOLING air volume passed through the grain,which is ● Calculate air volume delivered.
monitoring physical conditions and pest determined by multiplying fan output (measured
Both ambient-air drying and cooling systems rely on ● Check airflow delivered by the fan using a hot-
incidence.Monitoring thus provides early as m3/hour/tonne) by hours run.Records of fan wire or vane-anemometer.
warning of problems. It also provides sufficient airflow for targets to be met on time. hours run,or airflow may provide explanations if
decision support about when grain should ● Use a floatmeter at the grain surface to measure
Drying requires about 20 times the airflow needed for cooling or drying is slo wer than expected.
be sold and/or management actions needed. drying rate airflows.
Records from monitoring ensure compliance
with assurance schemes.
Monitoring is an integral part of grain storage Measuring temperature indicates if the cooling ● Take measurements daily for the first week or
at several stages and for several purposes.
Where appropriate, section 14 cross-refers to
5 TEMPERATURE system is operating properly so remedial action two while temperatures fall below 15–20ºC.
can be taken if necessar y. ● Take measurements weekly for the first month or
the relevant section in this guide. Monitoring equipment
Temperature also indicates infestation risk.The two and thereafter monthly.
● Thermocouples, which are cheap and flexible,may be used ● Ideally use a permanent grid of sensors in
most important temperature to measure is wher e
for sensor arrays but are less robust than thermistors which large stores.
grain cooling takes longest,eg furthest away from
are usually employed in commercial equipment or
Sampling before installations. the fan in blowing (upward aeration) systems.This ● For smaller bins or heaps,use a portable
storage to is usually 0.5 m beneath the surface and centrally temperature spear probe,possibly with a
● Permanent probe arrays can be interfaced with computers moisture sensor.
determine grain and downloaded into record-keeping software to access
between ducts.
quality is problem-solving tools. ● Do NOT use long metal probes as sensors need
summarised in the to attain stable grain temperature rapidly.
HGCA booklet ● Alcohol, mercury in glass or bimetallic strip
thermometers cannot be used for remote sensing.Glass ● Sample temperatures regularly at the same
Grain sampling – locations and keep permanent records.
a farmer's guide. thermometers may not be used in grain stores because of the
possibility of breakage.
Temperature sensors can be integrated to control fan operation
and linked to automatic recording systems.

30 31
Monitoring pests assesses effectiveness of
control measures.

Traps are not very ef fective for quantifying insect ● Lay traps in a 4–5 m g rid.Check every week early
7 INSECTS infestations but can indicate population trends. in the season and monthly thereafter. Leave in
Numbers caught are influenced by trap type, place for a week before examination.
Detecting insects in grain enables corrective ● Pitfall traps: Tie at least 1 m of string to a bamboo species, grain disturbance,temperature and ● Record trap locations.Account for all traps at
action to be taken before sale. This avoids costly cane marker to avoid losing trap.In large stores fla g whether grain has been treated with pesticide. each monitoring.
rejection if insects are detected at the point of sale. and number canes.Bury trap so that the rim is level
with grain surface.If grain falls into trap still
Insects usually die out during cool stor age.If ● Empty pests onto white tray or card to make more
Detecting insects inside the empty store allows numbers trapped increase consistently there is visible.Alternatively place insects in a sealable,
decisions to be made about whether fabric examine contents using a sieve to separate out
cause for concern. labelled bag or tube and examine in the office.
treatments are needed before grain goes into store. insects or mites.Clean pitfall traps and treat with
fluon every 2–3 months. A few insects in a trap do not mean control ● Record trap catches.Identify pests accurately.
Insects are relatively small (3–6 mm) and dif ficult to measures must be used. Treatment depends on
find.As more samples are taken, chances of detection ● Probe traps: Tie trap to marker cane by at least 1 m ● React to sustained increases in numbers.
intended market and stage of storage.
increase.Even a single insect in a 1 kg sample may of string.Bury traps vertically to just below surface. ● Apply treatments,possibly in localised areas.
represent potentially serious infestation. ● PC traps combine features of pitfall and probe ● Use I-Spy insect indicator or bait bags to detect
To assist monitoring,traps have been developed.These traps.Use in pairs – at surface and 5–10 cm below. crawling insects on flat surfaces.
are more than ten times as ef fective as sampling at ● Bait bags containing carob-based aromatic seed Sampling for pests
detecting insects and mites.They may also be the only mixes are used to assess residual infestations,
effective method of detecting insects in grain bulks particularly in empty stores.Bait bags must be – at intake ● No action is needed for har vest-fresh grain. Field
where use of spears is restricted. collected and counted after use. Freshly harvested grain will not contain insects will die out.
● The I-spy insect indicator (also called a PC floor storage pests. ● Sample before unloading – sieve at least 3–5 kg
trap) is a PC trap with a flat base in place of the Previously stored grain may be infested. of grain from each load.
perspex funnel and enhanced with a lure. – during storage
Early detection is crucial,but sampling is ● Use insect traps as the most relia ble method of
unreliable.Changes in temperature and moisture detecting insects (see Sections 7 & 8) .
may indicate infestation risk.Mites and fungus ● Monitor and record temperature and moisture
HGCA funding has developed insect traps beetles commonly occur in damper surface la yers. regularly (see Sections 2 & 5) . Investigate areas
which are the most cost-effective way of
of change.
detecting insects in static bulks. – at outloading
● Check samples for insects or mites. Absence of
Insect trapping is an integral component of Pests must be detected and dealt with befor e
pests is no guarantee of freedom from infestation.
the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme. outloading.

Mites often occur in lar ge numbers in debris and ● Monitor store structure using mite traps . These
8 MITES are almost indistinguishable from dust.In damp should indicate higher risk areas.
grain,mites are distributed throughout the bulk ● Sample grain from different depths and sieve
Mites can be monitored by using mite traps or but in drier grain will be close to the surface. through a 1 mm mesh.Examine sievings using a
by sieving. Mites are most likely to re-infest a g rain surface hand lens (minimum x10).Carry out parallel
● If the moisture content is above 14.5%, mites when it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere measurement of mc to assess likelihood of
will be widespread throughout the bulk. in winter. further infestation.
● Providing the bulk mc is below 14.5, mites only ● Monitor grain surface for mites and control an y
usually occur at the grain surface populations found.
● Where the bulk mc is below 13%, the risk of mite ● Look for mites in insect traps or by sieving a
infestation occurring at the surface is negligible. spear sample of grain.

Mite trap

32 33
HGCA guides 69 The control of insects in export grain by Books Software
Rodent control in agriculture – a guide , 2002 admixture chemicals – Drying and storing combinable crops , K A McLean, – HGCA GrainPlan – an expert system. Available
Grain sampling – a farmer’s guide , 2003 79 An assessment of practical methods for collecting Farming Press, second edition, 1989. early 2004.
samples from lorry-loads of grain – Common insect pests of stored food products. A Free to levy payers from HGCA.
82 The development of a practical method for guide to their identification , Ed. P. Freeman, – Grain sampling – a farmer’s guide , on CD, 2003.
HGCA Topic Sheets removing insects from large samples of grain British Museum (Natural History), Economic – Integrated grain storage manager – an expert
Posted free to levy payers on request. Series No. 15. system developed with HGCA and Defra funding.
7 Integrated grain storage strategies – Storage of cereal grains and their products , Ed: D £49.99 (inc p&p) to HGCA levy payers.
8 Effective phosphine fumigation of grain B Sauer, American Association of Cereal Tel: 020 7594 6565.
16 Bulk storage drying of grain and oilseeds Chemists, 4th Edition, 1992.
– Stored grain ecosystems , Eds: D S Jayas, N D
26 Sampling grain on farm Legislation
White, W E Muir, Marcel Dekker, USA, 1995.
34 Mycotoxins in stored grain • Agriculture act 1947
– Technical bulletin 9. The mites of stored food and
53 Vertical ventilation for cooling grain houses, Dr A M Hughes, HMSO, second edition, • Prevention of damage by pests act 1949
60 Ensuring good germination in malting barley 1976. • Pests act 1954
62 Preventing and controlling mites in stored cereals – “Codes of practice” for quality assurance – • Health and safety at work act 1974
Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (for England • Control of pollution act 1974
and Wales) and Scottish Quality Cereals.
HGCA Research Reviews (cereals)* • Spring traps approval order 1975
– Codes of practice for control of salmonella , MAFF.
3 The biodeterioration of stored cereals • Wildlife and countryside act 1981
– Pesticides 1999: pesticides approved under the
7 The control of pests in stored cereals Control of Pesticides Regulations 1985 and the • Spring traps approval (variation) order 1985
12 The occurrence and detection of pesticide Plant Protection Products Regulations 1995 , • Food and environment protection act 1985 (part
residues in UK grain MAFF. iii)
13 The occurrence and detection of moulds, – Integrated management of insects in stored • Control of pesticides regulations as amended 1986
mycotoxins and actinomycetes in UK grain products. Eds. B Subramanyam, D. Hagstrum, • Food safety act 1990
15 Moisture content of cereal grains Marcel Dekker USA, 1996.
• Environmental protection act 1990
– The UK pesticide guide, CAB International 2003.
27 Methods of distributing phosphine in bulk grain • Management of health and safety at work
38 Bulk storage drying of grain and oilseeds regulations 1992
42 Alternatives to organophosphorous compounds for Websites • The control of substances hazardous to health
the control of storage mites HGCA: regulations 1994 storage • Food safety (general food hygiene) regulations
Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain: 1995
HGCA Research Review (oilseeds)* • Wild mammals (protection) act 1996
OS6 Drying and storage of oilseeds • Biocidal products directive (98/008/EEC)
Pesticides Safety Directorate: • Plant protection products (basic conditions) regulations 1997
HGCA Project Reports (cereals)*
Central Science Laboratory: • Anon, 2002. Commission directive 2002/26/EC
6 The control of insects in export grain of 13 March 2002 laying down the sampling
7 Economic analysis of stored product pest control US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research methods and methods of analysis for the official
strategies (GPA ‘Grain Pest Adviser’ expert Service: control of the levels of ochratoxin A in foodstuffs.
system) Official Journal of the European Communities.
24 Integrated pest control strategy for stored grain Pestweb: L75/38 – 43.
29 Commercial grain stores 1988/89, England and
Wales. Pest incidence and storage practices (two Stored Grain Research Laboratory, Australia:
30 Improving the effectiveness of pitfall traps for Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development,
the detection of insect pests in grain Canada:
34 An assessment of methods of sampling bulk grain
35 The reduction of chemical and microbial
contaminants in wheat British and International Standards
40 Evaluation and development of systems for Standard number Title International
storing malting barley equivalent
41 New application methods for the use of phosphine BS 4317 Part 3(1999) Determination of moisture content of cereals and cereal products (routine
to disinfest bulk grain reference method) ISO 712
45 Residues of etrimfos and pirimiphos-methyl in BS 4317 Part 18(1988) Determination of hidden insect infestation ISO 6639
wheat and malting barley stored in ventilated BS 4317 Part 24(1990) Method of checking the calibration of moisture meters for cereals ISO
bins 7700-1
57 Integrated pest control strategy for stored grain BS 4317 Part 26(1991) Measurement of temperature of grain during bulk storage ISO 4112
– surface pesticide treatment of aerated BS 6219 (1996) Test sieves for cereals ISO 5223
commercial and farm stores to control insects
and mites BS 6279 Part 2(2001) Storage of cereals and pulses. Practical recommendations ISO 6322-2
BS 13690 (1999) Cereals, pulses
NOTE:*Project Reports and Research Reviews are available at cost from HGCA.

34 35
This guide represents a knowledge transfer project.The guide
describes general principles developed through HGCA and/or
Defra-funded research.
This edition was revised by David Armitage and Dr Ken Wildey,
CSL and edited by Dr Clive Edwards,HGCA; and Geoff
The editors acknowledge the helpful comments made by many
industry experts.They incl u d e :A d rian Meyer and Mike Kelly,
Acheta; Robin Pirie,ACCS; John Bailey, David Bartlett and Rob
Clare,ADAS;Richard Whitlock, Banks Cargill; Dr Denise Baxter,
BRi; Dean Cook, Patrick Cox and Dr Roger Quy, CSL;Bruce
Johnson,Greencore;Archi Lamont, Grainfax;Bryan Collen, Dr
Simon Hook, Professor Graham Jellis, Dr Roger Williams and
Norman Wisely, HGCA;David Cross and Chris Watson,IGROX;
Dr Jonathan Knight, Imperial College London; Ivor Murrell,
MAGB (with input from many member companies);Alex
Waugh and Damian Testa,nabim;David Richardson,PSD; Paul
Molyneux, Rank Hovis;Anne Guttridge,Cargill and Martin
Farrow, ADM (for SCOPA); Dr David Bruce,SRI; Paul Rooke,
UKASTA;Richard Elsdon, United Oilseeds; Dr Julian
Wiseman,University of Nottingham; Robin Wilkin,
grain storage consultant.
Design by Chamberlain.

For information on HGCA services:

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Tel: 020 7520 3945
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Market Information (MI)
Tel: 020 7520 3972
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Tel: 020 7520 3925
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Tel: 020 7520 3920
Fax: 020 7520 3931
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© HGCA 2003
The original guide was written by David Armitage and Dr Ken Wildey; with Dr David Bruce
of Silsoe Research Institute; and Mike Kelly and Adrian Meyer of The Acheta Partnership.