While recent rains have slowed planting progress once again across the Southeast, storage of those grain crops being planted is something to think about. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), grain bin fumigation is a crucial but dangerous aspect of any grain farmer’s operation. They note the process of fumigating for pests begins well before grain enters the bin, and the key to managing insect populations before, during and after the fumigation process is sanitation.
ACES Entomology and Plant Pathology Specialist, Katelyn Kesheimer, offers some information on fumigation’s dangers and how to remain as safe as possible during the process.
“It is important to begin storage with the lowest possible insect population in the bin,” Kesheimer said. “This means cleaning storage facilities inside and out to remove any insects already present.”
Cleaning up weeds and other crop debris in bins can lower insect and rodent problems. Inspecting bins for cracks and gaps is important to do before grain is inside. Seal the cracks and gaps with polyurethane foam. Then treat empty bins with insecticides to kill any insects before adding grain.
“Once you have too many insects in the bin, it is time to fumigate,” Kesheimer said.
But before starting fumigation, there are many things to remember when it comes to safety and laws to follow with certain products. If producers are unfamiliar with grain bin fumigation, Kesheimer suggests hiring an outside company with trained professionals.
For more information on safety while fumigating grain bins, visit aces.edu or contact your county Extension office.