Johnny Wilson, PhD, On Cost

JW3 blog

A Proactive Stored Grain Insect Control Program Helps Deliver a Strong ROI

This blog series is about sharing our expert insights on topics such as defining shrink and identifying stored grain insects, which we covered in previous blogs and can be viewed by clinking the links above. Read on as Johnny Wilson, Ph.D. from our Specialty and Grain Protection Technical Services team, covers how much can be saved from proactively protecting post-harvest grains from the damage and loss caused by insects.

Keeping Cost in Mind

We have to be cost-minded in our approach to pest management and the question of “How much does applying a protectant save me?” comes up quite often. There are many factors that go into determining the degree of damage that can take place during post-harvest storage, but my goal is to establish a baseline number we can use as a starting point to build a return on investment. At our Central Life Sciences facility in Dallas, TX, we conducted trials where we measured the degree and type of grain loss that occurs over time in storage due to insect damage. In our trial, we measured whole corn losses in corn infested with lesser grain borers and comparing it to corn treated with a grain protectant prior to insect addition. We have completed our 60-day testing and the amount of damage we already see is shocking.

  • In terms of dry matter shrink, we see a loss of 1.78% when no treatment is applied over a 60-day period.
  • The 1.78% loss does not factor in the fines that were generated by the insects and that accounts for an additional 0.46% loss. Loss is very evident at the bottom of the grain mass and also shows complete insect mortality in the sample treated with Gravista®-D Insecticide. Now we are at a 2.24% dry matter loss and we haven’t even factored in the effect it will have on the grade.
  • The most shocking dataset from the study shows the percentage by weight of insect damaged kernels. Untreated corn jumps up to a whopping 14% worth of kernels that show signs of insect damage while the treated (with Gravista®-D Insecticide) corn shows virtually no damage at all before insect mortality occurred. This is enough to kick a sample of corn down from US number 2 grade all the way down to US sample grade and result in rejections. Even blending corn with this level of damage into other bins for a quick sale will be very difficult.

A 60-day storage time is just beginning to show the signs of damage from the first generation of offspring so we anticipate an even greater degree of loss when the study concludes after 90 days. For example, at $4/bu corn, a 2.24% loss comes out to 10 cents and that alone will give a positive return on investment. This doesn’t even factor in the severe penalties for grain quality.

Connect with Johnny

Johnny Wilson

Stay tuned for Johnny’s next blog on S.L.A.M. Integrated Pest Management. In the meantime, you can email Johnny directly here. He specializes in preparing Integrated Pest Management programs for agricultural production systems and providing recommendations and plans specific to individual operations, as needed.


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