Grain growers keen to brush up on their store hygiene to help meet increasingly stringent buyers’ requirements can take part in trials to determine the best cleaning methods.There are a number of options for cleaning stores, says the HGCA’s Roger Williams, who is overseeing a five-year Sustainable Arable LINK project aimed at managing the risks to safety and quality during grain storage.

The second year of the project will assess the effectiveness of these different hygiene measures in reducing inoculum of mycotoxin-producing fungi. The study will also examine the impact on grain contamination during subsequent storage.

“Initial findings suggest that grain-conveying systems are the biggest source of inoculum that could be introduced to incoming grain on residues from previous harvests,” says Dr Williams. “When cleaning stores, it would be prudent to target these systems for thorough attention.”

Trials will be run in stores across the country, and the project team is keen to hear from storekeepers and farmers who would like to take part. Those interested should contact project co-ordinator Dean Cook from the Central Science Laboratory, who will be on the HGCA stand during the Cereals event.

With the possibility of another early harvest, all growers should be thinking now about grain store preparation, Dr Williams adds.

As a guide, he suggests:

  • Clean, check and service key equipment
  • Address structure problems – eg broken gutters, defective walls, dead spaces – to prevent water ingress and reduce the risk of harbouring pests and other contaminants
  • Remove dirt and debris to reduce pest risk and prevent contamination of incoming stocks
  • Monitor for pests with insect traps and treat structures and protect incoming grain where appropriate
  • Disinfect and clean buildings previously used for livestock to reduce the risk of disease transmission.