14 September 2001

Use may be compulsory for next harvest

COMPULSORY use of PC traps to monitor grain for pests is one proposal that will be considered by the ACCS technical advisory committee in September, says the assurance bodys Robin Pirie.

While it will not become compulsory this year, it may be one of the changes that comes through in time for next years harvest.

Such a move would win the support of Bedfordshire farm manager John Errington. "I think the use of PC traps is a good idea, its a fool-proof way of monitoring pest presence in stored grain and would be a good policy to make compulsory."

Phil Darke of Cambs co-op store Camgrain echoes that view. "Everybody ought to be using them, its a common sense way of checking for pests. If a farmer has to monitor PC traps then he cant just shut the barn doors in October and open them up again in the New Year when he wants to send some grain out."

Mr Errington installs traps once grain has settled in store, and then inspects them whenever moisture and temperature are checked. "We havent found anything of significance in them, but the over-riding point is that quality assurance has made all of us look very closely at our store cleaning regime."

Although Mr Errington believes traps are overpriced, Mr Darke considers them value for money. "Relative to the cost of grain, PC traps are cheap. Its only when you have an infestation and incur cost of treatment that you wish you had used them." &#42

PEST MONITORING SYSTEMS AVAILABLE

&#8226 Probe trap Another blunder trap that can be used below surface. Able to push deeper into grain, particularly useful for deep bins and monitoring pest activity once surface treatment applied.

&#8226 Mite trap Gel that contains components attractive to mites/mite species. Useful for checking mite levels in empty store.

&#8226 Bait bag Net bag containing carob-based aromatic seed mixes attractive to most grain species. Useful for assessing infestations in empty store.

&#8226 Pheromone trap Pheromone developed for saw-toothed grain beetle, effective but not commercially available. An all species lure, to be placed in the bottom of a PC trap, should be commercially available within a few years.