Are you cooling your wheat?

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Figure 6. Number of offspring 5 months after 50 pairs of rice weevils placed in wheat. With 80-degree days and 60-degree nights, combined with low humidity, now is a prime opportunity to begin lowering in the temperature in your wheat storage bins. As Figure 6 shows graphically, as temperature and moisture increase between about 70 degrees and 90 degrees F, the rate of insect development also increases.

Since the growth, reproduction, feeding and movement rates are all governed by temperature, lowering your grain temperature will only help control stored product insect infestations. Certainly we will still have plenty of warm days left before truly cold weather sets in. Nevertheless, starting to lower temperature stored grain as early as possible will simply aid in reaching that point were insect infestations can continue to increase and cause damage.

There is no magic number, but lowering grain to 50 degrees F or below can only help your storage quality situation. You are not likely to get all of this done in August, but these early cool nights and dry days are a good way to start. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this is through the instillation of automatic aeration controllers. Sure you can turn your fans on and off when the good weather comes, but most producers are pretty busy this time of year and will only become more preoccupied as corn harvest approaches. Automatic temperature controls can be set to automatically take advantage of these occasional cool temperatures while freeing the producer from having to remember to switch fans on and off. Check with the UK Agricultural Engineers to obtain specifics about these systems.

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