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Features Agronomy Storage
Protect the quality of your stored grain from insect infestations and mould

Harvest of cereal crops is nearly complete for this crop year and grain is in storage bins, waiting for delivery. While your grain is in storage, keep these methods in mind to protect its quality from insect infestations and mould.

Keep grain cool. Check your temperature probes every two weeks while grain is in storage. For best results, the temperature of grain should uniform and be less than 15°C. Aerating or turning grain helps keep grain cool and dry. Hot spots in grain may be indicators of the presence of insects.

Monitor moisture levels. Keep your grain at the appropriate moisture content to reduce the risk of spoilage. Moisture levels should be checked every two weeks.

Spot and identify insects. When you check grain moisture and temperature, take samples from the core of your grain to monitor for insect populations. Also check the top of the grain in the bin – this is where heat and moisture collect and insects may find this very attractive. If you find insects, determine what type they are to find the best control method.

Watch out for mould. Under warm, moist conditions, moulds can grow quickly and some fungi may produce poisonous mycotoxins, such as ochratoxin A. Mould may not be visible in dark grain bins or may form inside the grain bulk. A musty smell or grain clumping or caking may be signs of mould.

Contact the Canadian Grain Commission's Infestation Control and Sanitation Officer for further assistance.

Monitor stored grain regularly for hot spots and insect populations:

  • insects are likely to be found in pockets of warm or moist grain
  • sample the grain from the core at a depth of 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) from the surface
  • sieve the samples or examine small portions carefully
  • stored product insects are typically very small beetles (less than 3 millimetres or 1/8 inch) that may not be moving, so a magnifying glass can be helpful
Identify insects in your grain to determine the right control method
  • insects in your grain could be grain feeders, fungal feeders, or predators of these insects
  • for advice on controlling grain-feeding insects, visit the Canadian Grain Commission's website
For further information: Brent Elliott, Infestation Control and Sanitation Officer, Canadian Grain Commission, 204-983-3790, brent.elliott@grainscanada.gc.ca