19 November 1999

Six-step plan to keep pests under control

A SIX-STAGE pest protection plan has been devised to help farmers meet the requirements of the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme.

The move reflects a growing trend among farmers to pay more attention to detail with grain storage, says Mark Braithwaite, managing director of Igrox.

The plan, complemented by new services and products, takes farmers through store hygiene, proofing, product protection, rodent control and infestation troubleshooting.

Farmers can then either use Igrox to carry out work or to source necessary materials and advice so farmers can do the work themselves.

"While cost is uppermost in farmers minds at the moment, they should not be complacent about grain storage hygiene. With grain at £60-£65/t, redirection and treatment costs can bring that down to under £50/t," Mr Braithwaite stresses.

Starting pre-harvest with store hygiene it is always advisable to clean grain stores thoroughly, he says.

"Bait bags can then be left in the clean store to attract insects," highlights Ian Clayton-Bailey, stored grain business manager. "Findings help determine whether chemical application is really needed. "Not all insects are injurious to health, and some may even die off naturally, so its not always necessary to spend money on chemicals," he says.

"Immediately around the time of ACCS launch, we noticed a huge increase in demand in the sale of bait bags and pc traps," says Mr Braithwaite. "Since then, demand has dropped. People that joined the scheme were perhaps larger more progressive farmers who took on requirements quite readily. Since then uptake has slowed."

A new pest identification service put together in conjunction with CSL enables farmers to identify those pests injurious to health and make a more informed judgement about spraying stores.

If necessary, store disinfestation can be carried out or chemicals supplied for the farmers use.

Before intake, Igrox recommends a store audit to advise farmers of any immediate pest control or proofing actions required.

"This is a free service which involves a visit by an Igrox surveyor who will make recommendations of control actions," says Mr Braithwaite.

"Rodent control may be an issue, so to give farmers confidence to keep rats out of their stores we have also introduced a new Rat Pack." &#42

SIX-STEP STORE PLAN

&#8226 Storage hygiene.

&#8226 Sanitise and disinfect stores.

&#8226 Pre-storage audit.

&#8226 Guaranteed protection with phosphine fumigation.

&#8226 Product protection.

&#8226 Troubleshooting.