A prolonged and warm winter has allowed both mites and insect pest infestations to escalate in grain stores and without an effective broad-spectrum treatment these infestations could attack grain as it is placed into the store following harvest and so reduce its value and even lead to rejection. Growers need to plan how they will tackle this potential problem which could reduce grain quality and price.Stewart Woodhead, Technical Manager of Interfarm, says that pests and mites can easily harbour in the fabric of empty stores and are ready and waiting to infest new parcels of grain when placed into store after harvest. “Grain pests and mites lodge in the smallest of places - cracks, crevices, airways, ducts, intake pits and elevators. All these areas need thorough cleaning of all residual material, debris and dust.”Mr Woodhead explains that there are now only a few grain store treatments with all the attributes needed to preserve grain quality and value. “Some control beetles but not mites. Some are approved in cereals but not oilseed rape. Some suffer resistance issues. If growers are looking for a proven non-chemical treatment with no resistance issues and which has the ability to control all pests and mites in cereals and oilseed rape, they should consider using the biophysical product Silico-Sec, derived from diatomaceous earth.”“Consisting of highly micronised specific amorphous silica (silicon dioxide), Silico-Sec abrades and damages the cuticles of insects and mites, removing the water-proofing waxes, resulting in desiccation and death of the pests. Because it is a biophysical product, it will control any exo-skeletal pest, including grain weevils, saw-toothed grain beetles, red-rust flour beetles, cosmopolitan food mites and flour mites. Importantly the abrading mechanism of action means that there are no resistance issues and all pest and mites are controlled.”“Thorough and even coverage of the whole fabric and structure of the empty grain store is important in order to get the best results. It is best if growers adopt a more thorough and integrated approach to pest and mite control, so that they enjoy maximum protection of their valuable grain throughout the whole period of storage,” he advises.