14 July 1995

A professional task

WITH as much as 12,000t of wheat and barley worth over £1m held in 10 on-floor stores for up to nine months a Norfolk estate cannot afford to risk grain pest attack.

"We used to clean and fumigate stores ourselves but with so much at stake we now feel we must leave the job to professionals," says Poul Hovesen, who manages the 1650ha (4125-acre) Salle Farms, near Norwich. "We had no problems when we did it ourselves but I now feel it is a safer option to use a specialist to protect our grain."

Clean start policy

The policy is to start with clean stores, so as soon as the last of the grain has gone the floors, walls and under-floor ducts are thoroughly swept and vacuumed.

The specialist team then applies a spray with high air volume. Remaining dust and debris is blasted away and replaced by chemical. In October a surface mist treatment is applied to put a barrier between grain and any invading insects. Stores are checked and temperatures taken at regular intervals. If trouble is seen advice is given on how to halt it.

"This service costs us less than 10p/t and is well worth it. I like to leave it to specialists, as it is vital not to put excess chemical on grain. Merchants are now strict about residues, and use of a professional service is a powerful argument in my favour when marketing grain," says Mr Hovesen.