Effective storage for grain
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CTA. 2005. Effective storage for grain. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57142
Professor Denash Giga, a pest management and crop storage specialist in Zimbabwe, explains the principles of good storage for grain crops, to minimize damage by insects, rodents and fungi.
Effective storage for grain Cue: When storing grain crops such as maize, keeping the grain free from insects, rodents and fungi is essential for maintaining its quality and value. Effective storage protects a family?s food supply, and helps to ensure that if they need to sell some of their grain, they get a good price. But what are the rules for good grain storage? Professor Denash Giga is a pest management and crop storage specialist based in Zimbabwe, who regularly works with small scale farmers to improve their storage methods. In a recent interview with Busani Bafana, he explained what farmers need to do to protect their stored grains. IN: ?There are a number of factors ?? OUT: ??as preparing the grain for storage.? DUR?N 4?51? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Professor Denash Giga, a crop storage specialist, emphasising the need for farmers to regularly inspect their stored grains, in order to detect and deal with any problems such as insect infestation. Transcript Giga There are a number of factors that farmers need to consider for good crop storage. Firstly, of fundamental importance, the grain must be dried properly. Dried to recommended moisture content, and the moisture content varies according to the crop. For maize, for example, 12.5% moisture content is a safe level. After the maize, for example, has been dried adequately, it must be threshed or shelled, then cleaned, all the chaff sorted out, and the grain should now be ready to be placed in store. Bafana How should farmers prepare their storage room, or storage facilities before they put in the newly harvested crop? Giga Firstly the farmers should realise that the storage facility has evolved over centuries, and that a storage facility aims at keeping the grain cool and dry. The storage structure must then be kept clean. In fact right at the start of the new season, the structure must be cleaned out, repaired, and if there is a grass thatch on the traditional storage structure, a new thatch must be placed. The storage structures must be clean, because insect infestations from the previous seasons can migrate onto the new crop. Farmers should not store old grain, the previous season?s grain with the current season?s grain, they should ensure that the two are kept apart. So in essence, good store hygiene and sanitation must be practised. Bafana How should farmers protect their crops against contamination by insects and rodents? Giga Insect infestations start in the field, so it is important that farmers try to reduce this infestation as much as possible, as early as possible. Hence drying the grain properly. In the case of rodents, farmers should place traps in the storage facilities. If they do own cats, a cat should be allowed to roam freely around the storage facilities, and the facility should be made rodent proof as far as possible, by closing gaps, repairing the roof, ensuring there are no holes in the walls etc. Fungi are quite serious contaminants, in that they may produce aflatoxins which are hazardous to human beings. The easiest way of ensuring that aflatoxins don?t become a problem is to adequately dry the grain before placing it in store, and ensuring that moisture does not enter the storage structure. The farmer should repair any structures to prevent moisture entering the structure, especially in the case of thatched, traditional stores, moisture ingress is quite a common problem. Bafana Insecticides are widely used to protect grain. What practices should farmers follow to ensure safety? Giga What the farmer should do is select a grain protectant that is registered for use on food grain, that is effective against the major pests in that particular region. Farmers should read carefully the label of the insecticide container, and follow the instructions for application very carefully. In using any grain protectant, the correct dose and the correct application method must be followed, the chemical must be carefully weighed out, mixed and applied to the grain. Bafana Once the crops have been prepared and stored, what practices should the farmers undertake to reduce the risk of contamination and damage? Giga Once a crop has been placed in storage, the story does not end there. The farmers have to regularly monitor and sample the grain, ensuring that any infestation is not arising. If they do notice any infestation, then steps must be taken. Store management is just as important as preparing the grain for storage. End of track.