Harvest comes with a clean message

Jeff Russell is alerting growers to the threat of pests and weeds in harvesting and storage equipment.
Jeff Russell is alerting growers to the threat of pests and weeds in harvesting and storage equipment.

Department of Agriculture and Food grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell urged growers to ensure their grain harvesting and storage equipment was properly cleaned of grain residue, insects and weed seeds.

Mr Russell, whose position is funded by Plant Health Australia, said silos, field bins, augers and trucks could all harbour pests and weeds.

‘Grain residues can build up in equipment and machinery, which provides a safe haven for grain storage pests that can be difficult to remove if they have been left sitting for a few months,’ he said.

‘It’s best to sacrifice the first few kilograms of grain to come out of a harvester at the beginning of the season to minimise the risk of a pest infestation.’

He recommended running or blowing a small amount of diatomaceous earth (DE) through equipment and machinery.

‘DE dust will kill any pests hiding in the nooks and crannies of the equipment and bins,’ he said.

Mr Russell urged growers with any weed or pest problems to advise their contractors before they commenced work.

‘If the contractors know about any problems, they can either avoid the area or leave it until last to harvest,’ he said. ‘This will minimise the spread of these problems to other parts of the property.