Preventative pest management in stored seeds and grains guarantees quality and good prices

Cleaning the silo before storage, preventive application of insecticides and constant monitoring of infestations are mandatory procedures to avoid losses

03.05.2021 | 20:59 (UTC -3)
Amanda Silva

Data from the Institute of Applied Research (Ipea) indicate a significant increase in grain prices in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. Soybeans registered an increase of 94,2%, corn rose 66,3% and wheat, 51%. But good prices can be compromised if the farmer does not pay attention to integrated pest management for stored seeds and grains. "Depending on the level of pest infestation, the lot may even be rejected by the purchasing company", says Simone Cassia, administrative manager at Agropecuária Baumgart, which has an annual production of 700 thousand bags of soybeans and corn.

So that care from planting to harvest is not lost in the subsequent stage, the group undertakes meticulous post-harvest work. The first step is not to mix new harvest with old harvest. If there are still grains from the previous cycle in the warehouses, they are removed and placed in silo bags. "We maintain that the standard of our processes is to pre-clean the silos, before drying and storing the grains", says the manager. "We also have thermometry, which controls the temperature, which helps with pest control", adds Simone.

Agropecuária Baumgart has seven silos and Juarez Alves de Oliveira coordinates storage. "We monitor pest infestation weekly. Depending on the level, we apply aluminum phosphide gas," he says. This care in monitoring stored grains, according to Fernando Bernardini, biologist and Product Development manager at the Environmental Science unit at Bayer Brazil and Latin America, makes all the difference. "Post-harvest grain care must be as rigorous as treatments during the harvest, since some pests can remain in the corn from the field until storage. Having a healthy grain with market value depends on the correct application of inputs at all stages", he explains.


The growing demand for food in the world resulting from population growth requires that harvested grains be preserved and have minimal losses, both qualitative and quantitative. To achieve this, the producer cannot neglect the silos. He needs to monitor contamination by rodents, fungi and the presence of insect fragments and, in this way, avoid infestation in the grains, which can lead to losses of 10% to 15% of the stored harvest. At this stage, the woodworm is one of the main enemies.

"These insects are capable of moving through small spaces between the grains, including in the deepest areas of the silos. Among the damages caused by this pest are: loss in grain weight, increased humidity, dissemination of mycotoxins through fungi and difficulties in exporting and marketing products", says Bernardini.

To avoid problems, the farmer needs to follow the guide on good procedures for stored grains, which includes cleaning the storage unit before receiving the harvest and checking/inspecting the grains that arrive from the field. After these processes, the treatment of grains against weevils consists of the use of chemical insecticide (preventive control) and purging (curative treatment) with gas containing aluminum phosphide (phosphine), which protects the silo at the time of application.

Agropecuária Baumgart adopts such procedures and, therefore, ensures the quality of the grains until they are shipped to the customer on the domestic or foreign market. "If storage lasts more than a month, the grains and seeds can be treated preventively to obtain protection against pest attack, with insecticides when storing in the silos", says Bernardini. It's exactly the routine in the Baumgart group's warehouses. "And if the grains remain for longer, every four months, we repeat the application", says Simone.

To help the producer maintain efficiency and avoid losses, which would harm the profitability of the activity, Bayer has several products aimed at preserving the quality of stored grains. In addition, the company has the Bayer Protection Program, which has a partnership with several companies that control pests and diseases in silos.

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