Monday, 19 May 2014

Mites and insect pests likely to escalate – so be prepared to apply Silico-Sec in store

A prolonged and warm winter has allowed both mites and insect pest infestations to escalate in grain stores and without an effective broad-spectrum treatment these infestations could attack grain as it is placed into the store following harvest and so reduce its value and even lead to rejection. Growers need to plan how they will tackle this potential problem which could reduce grain quality and price.

Stewart Woodhead, Technical Manager of Interfarm Ltd., says that pests and mites can easily harbour in the fabric of empty stores and are ready and waiting to infest new parcels of grain when placed into store after harvest.  “Grain pests and mites lodge in the smallest of places - cracks, crevices, airways, ducts, intake pits and elevators. All these areas need thorough cleaning of all residual material, debris and dust. Then an appropriate insecticide and acaricide such as Silico-Sec should be applied to the fabric of the store, ahead of harvest.”

Mr Woodhead explains that there are now only a few grain store treatments with all the attributes needed to preserve grain quality and value.  “Some control beetles but not mites. Some are approved in cereals but not oilseed rape. Some suffer resistance issues. If growers are looking for a proven non-chemical treatment with no resistance issues and which has the ability to control all pests and mites in cereals and oilseed rape, they should consider using the biophysical product Silico-Sec, derived from diatomaceous earth. ”

“Consisting of highly micronised specific amorphous silica (silicon dioxide), Silico-Sec abrades and damages the cuticles of insects and mites, removing the water-proofing waxes, resulting in desiccation and death of the pests. Because it is a biophysical product, it will control any exo-skeletal pest, including grain weevils, saw-toothed grain beetles, red-rust flour beetles, cosmopolitan food mites and flour mites. Importantly the abrading mechanism of action means that there are no resistance issues and all pest and mites are controlled.”

Stores should be completely emptied and then cleaned out using an industrial vacuum. Then, following insect monitoring, Silico-Sec can be applied up to 4 weeks before the stores are filled. With a specialist Venturi Applicator, it is applied as a dry dust at a rate of 10gms per square metre over the entire fabric of the store, including walls, floors, equipment, ventilation ducts, intake pits, elevators, rafters, corners and crevices.   “Thorough and even coverage of the whole fabric and structure of the empty grain store is important in order to get the best results. It is best if growers adopt a more thorough and integrated approach to pest and mite control, so that they enjoy maximum protection of their valuable grain throughout the whole period of storage,” he advises.

Silico-Sec contains up to 96% micronized inert silicon dioxide as a high specification food grade powder derived from diatomaceous earth by a special process. It can be used as a store fabric treatment as well as on stored cereals and oilseed rape for the control and prevention of invertebrate pests such as mites, weevils and beetles, as part of an integrated storage management strategy. For milling wheat, growers should check with their grain merchant. There are now very few products for use on oilseed rape and Silico-Sec is an ideal product for this purpose.

“Silico-Sec is a natural alternative to OP treatments and can be used in both conventional and organic farming systems. It is approved for use under the Organic Farmers and Growers Approved Inputs Scheme,” adds Stewart.

Silico-Sec is packed in 15-kg bags and is available exclusively from Interfarm distributors.