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Digital Re-print - May | June 2013 Pest control across the supply chain Grain &
Digital Re-print - May | June 2013 Pest control across the supply chain Grain &
Digital Re-print - May | June 2013 Pest control across the supply chain Grain &

Digital Re-print - May | June 2013

Pest control across the supply chain

Grain & Feed Milling Technology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2013 Perendale Publishers Ltd.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872


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control Pest

across the supply chain

control Pest across the supply chain Pest control in storage Following last year’s poor harvest experience
control Pest across the supply chain Pest control in storage Following last year’s poor harvest experience

Pest control

in storage

Following last year’s poor

harvest experience in the United Kingdom, there’s a clear recognition that every grain counts. A planned approach is proving key in maximising output from the supply chain

is proving key in maximising output from the supply chain P rotecting grain and silos from

P rotecting grain and silos from insect infection is an important factor to be aware of. “Clearly millers want

high quality, consistent grain,” says Martin Savage, trade policy manager, National Association for British and Irish Millers (nabim), United Kingdom, but this is not always acknowledged by farmers.

“There are some perceptions amongst farmers that millers carry out a degree of physical cleaning of the grain after it leaves the

farm. We do process it, by removing dust and foreign bodies, but the grain itself is basically in the same condition as when it arrives,” says Savage. Ken Black, national account man- ager for rural hygiene, Bayer, United Kingdom, advocates a pro-active, preventative approach when protecting grain. “This is nothing new and should be the case every year, however the need is emphasised this year given the lateness of the agricultural calendar this spring. “Predictions are that 70-80 percent of farmers still won’t have done their fabric of

the building treatment by June,” says Black. “For this reason, we are actively promoting the benefits of ensuring treatments are made up to two months prior to harvest, ahead of what could be another challenging year.”

Good grain store practices

With this in mind, Savage says that pro- moting good grain store practices amongst suppliers is very important; a factor that offers pay back on a number of levels. “Primarily there’s the management of the

32 | may - June 2013

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Image courtesy of Alpha Fumigation Services Ltd


store to keep moisture and temperature levels down; they themselves can damage the grain, but they can also lead to other problems such as moulds and secondary insect infestation.” The process for controlling this starts at a very early stage and begins with thorough store cleaning and ensuring that any residues of grain from the previous year are removed and treatments are applied where necessary. Black echoes Savage’s comments, noting that in a late cereals season when there are many other farm work pressures, there is a risk that good store hygiene will slip down the priority list, yet it must not be forgotten. “An early application of a grain treatment product to the fabric of the building will ensure that the store is protected against any previous insect infestations or re- infestations later on in the season,” says Black. “It offers the peace of mind that

34 | may - June 2013

everything is being done to protect their valuable stored crops.” Savage explains that working closely with farmers to strongly advocate the cleaning of the store and the measures carried out to rid them of any insects, prior to the grain being introduced at harvest is key. “The penalties at stake are really too high not to prioritise these measures because our customers are very sensitive about pesticide residues, so we really encourage thorough store preparation in the first instance.” He appreciates that in order to fully protect the grain, a treatment will need to be applied to the product once it’s in store and he’s aware of customer concerns surround- ing this. That said, Savage acknowledges that if insecticide treatments are carried out properly and in accordance with the labels then it’s a reasonable and necessary approach.

Thoroughly modern treatments

Black explains that the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) for deltameth- rin - the active contained in Bayer’s grain store treatment, K-Obiol® is 2 mg/kg. “A significant advantage of K-Obiol® is that when either of its formulations are applied at their recommended rate, the residue level is only 0.25 mg/kg - 8 times lower than the MRL. “This is something we’re keen to communicate to millers, because we understand the legitimate con- cerns they and their customers have regarding pesticide residues, which is why, K-Obiol® has been formulated to have such a low MRL,” says Black. K-Obiol® is formulated to con- trol a wide range of stored crop insects, including grain weevils, flour beetles, grain borers, saw-toothed grain beetles, and flying insects too. It’s available in two modern pyre- throid formulations, both containing the active ingredient, deltamethrin. K-Obiol® EC25 has been formu- lated to treat the fabric of grain silos and storage facilities prior to the introduction of grain. K-Obiol® EC25 can also be used as an admix- ture, post-harvest and will offer up to 12 months protection. The sec- ond formulation, K-Obiol® ULV6, is also designed to be used as an admixture, post-harvest. Black explains that this treat- ment offers a number of key ben- efits. “As well as having an incredibly low MRL, K-Obiol® also offers no with-holding period. Other similar treatments commonly have a with- holding period of at least 90 days, meaning that the grain can’t be processed until three months after the application. Grain treated by K-Obiol® can be processed straight away.” K-Obiol’s other key advantage lies within its active ingredient deltamethrin. “Competitor products often contain actives from the organophospate chemical family,” says Black. “This is old chemistry now and has been heavily used over the past years. Some strains of beetles and weevils are now resistant to this and require a further applica- tion of a pyrethroid insecticide or fumiga- tion to achieve full control, heightening the amount of chemical applied to the grain and therefore increasing the residue risk.” Peter Crowden is a specialist pest con- troller at Rutland Pest Control and sits on the NPTA (National Pest Technicians Association) board. Peter specialises in pest control on arable farms and explains that K-Obiol® is his product of choice. “We’re confident in using both K-Obiol® EC25 as a treatment to the fabric of the

Grain & feed millinG technoloGy

building and K-Obiol® ULV6 as a grain ad-mixture,” says Crowden. “Deltamethrin does not significantly penetrate the grain, therefore providing confidence that the MRL will not be exceeded.”

Financial implications

While flour millers do hold some weight when advising on methods of best practice, Crowden believes that the biggest incentive for growers to protect their grain is the financial implications associated with having their wheat rejected due to insect infesta- tions. “The mere presence of insects at mills is unacceptable because they will make it through the cleaning and sieving proc- esses and can turn up in the final products. Generally speaking, the presence of any insect leads to rejection.” Savage says that in the event of insects being present, the grain is likely to be returned to the farmer. Not only will he not get paid for that delivery, he’ll also have to cover the haulage cost. Failing that, it might get used for animal feed and therefore attract a far lower price.” Savage adds that understandably, farmers are aware of this, and mills do make it very clear. “nabim and MAGB represent proces- sors on the boards of Red Tractor and the Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) so we can ensure that the standards focus on good store management and pest control. On

a practical level, mills receiving grain with

insect infestations would report the rejection to either of those assurance schemes and

they would either carry out an immediate audit or it would be flagged up for the next annual audit.”

New infestations

Crowden highlights another financial implication related to insect infestation. “In the event of new insect infestations occur- ring in the stored grain, it will be necessary to consider the use of ad-mixed insecticide such as, K-Obiol® EC25, or K-Obiol® ULV6. Another approach is aluminium phos- phide fumigation, but use of this method

is reliant on whether or not it is permitted

by the end markets. Fumigation is a very expensive option, it can often cost anything

up to £5 per tonne. “In contrast, treatment with K-Obiol® EC25 is around 62-65 p per tonne and will provide up to 12 months protection when used as an ad-mixture,” he says. From a pest controller’s point of view, Crowden is in agreement with Black and Savage. He warns that growers need to deal with any pest issues before the 2013 crop

is harvested, or face severe impairment to

grain quality. “This will result in the loss of grain, lost quality premiums and the pos- sibility of a load being rejected due to insect infestation.”


Supply chain strategy

With this in mind, it would appear that the key for success in these challenging times is strategy. It begins with an early, proactive response to preparing the grain store, well in advance of the harvest. It then continues into how farmers treat the grain once it’s in the store. The strategy then extends into how the growers decide to market their product. In the United Kingdom, such a strate- gic marketing approach is advocated by the cereals and oilseed rape levy board, the HGCA. “They encourage farmers to market their cereal proactively and according to a plan,” says Savage. “This may involve selling some of the grain early in the season, a further quantity mid-way through the year and some at the end of the season. Essentially this means produc- ers will be able to spread their price risk where they have the confidence that grain is protected for the full 12-month cycle. This is a win-win situation as, from a milling point of view, it helps to ensure a continu- ous supply of high-quality, insect free grain throughout the season.

More inforMation:


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Image 2: Hatch cover resting where it landed Pest control in transit Grains on the
Image 2: Hatch cover resting where it landed
Pest control
in transit
Grains on the move are
not immune from
pest problems.
Transportation time
can be effectively
used to solve this
issue, but does
come with its own
set of challenges
by Mike Kelly, Acheta,
United Kingdom

W e have around 100 years of experience in fumigating to disinfest ships and their

cargoes. These days the use of phosphine gas in bulk grain shipments, or consign- ments, is not unusual, and is often seen as an efficient use of the ship and time, arranging the fumigation to take place during a cargo’s voyage, using the vessel itself as a mobile, floating fumigation chamber. However, as with on-land bulk grain fumigations, certain safety precautions must be observed to maintain a satisfacto- ry level of safety for all involved - the pest control contractor (fumigator), the ship’s crew during the voyage, and the staff involved in discharging the fumigated cargo at the final destination port. The legal and safety requirements are detailed in several official documents, which are available to everyone involved in this process:


Health and safety guidance for employ- ers and technicians carrying out fumigation operations, HSE’s document ISBN 978 0 7176 2999 2 - HSG251

Recommendations on the safe use of pesticides in ships

The United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention places an obli- gation on all governments to ensure all ship- ping activities are carried out safely. The use of pesticides includes the fumigation of cargo spaces and of cargo, in port, or in-transit, and any part of the ship so affected by their use, as

36 | may - June 2013

contained in the IMO’s Recommendations on the Safe Use of Pesticides in Ships, Applicable to the Fumigation of Cargo Holds

What are the risks with phosphine fumigation?

These two documents together are extensive and comprehensive. Everyone involved in the fumigation of bulk grain and other cargoes, from the loading of the vessel to be fumigated, to the handling of the grain/ commodity being discharged from the vessel after in-transit fumigation, should be aware of their responsibilities to ensure it is as safe an activity as possible. Responsibilities vary with the activity during the fumigation pro- cedure, but everyone must take the subject and their part in it seriously. Perhaps because phosphine has been in use for several decades, and in general is a less equipment- heavy application method, many people involved tend to take it for granted and assume that safety is built-in to the activity. It is worth reminding everyone involved in phosphine fumigation, of the lethal potential of these ‘easy-to-use little tablets’ and the other formulations:

Phosphine gas (PH3) is never kept under pressure in cylinders, as methyl bromide used to be, because it will explode. It is gen- erated on-site by water vapour reacting with the solid metal phosphides. So you will see tablets similar in size to Alka Selzer. This is the only similarity to the effervescent antacid, which we all know because PH3 is a deadly poisonous gas. This is a major problem. When methyl bromide was in use, everyone knew it was a deadly gas, with lots of stories of

workers being off work with foot or chest problems when the gas seeped into boots and wellingtons, or it was breathed in, undetected, damaging and sometimes lethal lung problems. With methyl bromide, we were never allowed to sail a vessel ‘under gas’. The fumigation was completed at the quayside, with all but a few vital crew, on-shore in local hotels. But times have changed (not necessarily for the better). I suspect it is due to considerable pressure from all ends of the grain trade, but we now regularly see grain cargoes travelling the oceans under phosphine fumigation. This situation would be OK if everyone involved understood and followed all the safety rules. But this is clearly not the case, as several mistakes and accidents have shown in recent months.

Government safey services

Over recent years the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has greatly reduced its interest in and involvement with inland fumi- gations. During the annual BPCA Fumigation Diploma Course, HSE always explained the standards and expectations in fumigation. This has gradually ceased coinciding with the phasing out of methyl bromide. The normal grain trade has not seen any problems in fumigating grain stocks in silos and flat storages across the land, but we no longer see an HSE overview, or any HSE presence at all, realising finally last year that HSE no longer has a single specialist to advise on fumigations issues. They have, in association with the BPCA, produced and revised their Guidance Notes, and this is now available as a downloadable free publication (ISBN 978 0

Grain & feed millinG technoloGy

7176 2999 2 - HSG251), very useful, but the physical staff are no longer there – retired and not replaced. The recent accident in Northern Ireland, involving the vessel Arklow Meadow, occurred when some phosphine ‘sleeves’ were mishandled, by being left on the wet deck still generating phos- phine gas that resulted in a large-scale hospitalisation of those who inhaled the phosphine. The investigation and brief report, was by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of Southampton (see the accident overview). A few years ago HSE would have been the major safety service to be involved in situations of this nature, but in recent years they have lost their fumigation specialists through retirements. But what is the rel- evance of these changes? Is fumigation at sea any different in 2013 to what was the case in 2005? The answer unfortunately is yes, less safe, and why is as follows:

Changes in perception

With the phasing out of methyl bro- mide, there is also a reduced level of understanding of the risks and hazards of cargo fumigations. The relevant legislation is still in place, and the strongly-worded advisory documents covering the activi- ties involving fumigation at sea remain,


Image 1: Bulk grain loading
Image 1: Bulk grain loading

but somehow grain handlers, silo opera- tors, shippers and exporters/importers and other traders seem to have forgotten the main issues. Fumigation is the use of a potentially deadly gas, which is usually significantly more dangerous to humans than to insects. Let me explain this last statement so there is no confusion; Methyl bromide would kill insects and humans easily, within a space of a few hours;

the legal human safe limit was always 5 parts per million (ppm) for an exposure of a normal working day, and exceptionally 15 ppm for up to 15 minutes. This was for a gas everyone knew and understood to be dangerous, and which was to be treated with great care and caution. Cargoes to be fumigated with methyl bromide were done either on land before loading, or in a ship with the crew taken off to a nearby hotel. No questions and no objec- tions, and safety was paramount, with the

Grain weevils Grain borers Assured Protection Flour beetles Saw-toothed grain beetles from insect attack. Moths
Grain weevils
Grain borers
Flour beetles
grain beetles
from insect attack.
A complete solution for your
stored grain protection
The K-Obiol ® range protects the fabric
of your grain storage building and
equipment, as well as your stored grain.
K-Obiol ® ULV6 and K-Obiol ® EC25 are
liquid pyrethroid formulations.
 No withholding period after treatment
 Up to 12 months control
 K-Obiol ® ULV6 is for use as an admixture
 K-Obiol ® EC25 is for use on the fabric of
the building, the equipment (pre-harvest)
and as an admixture
USE PLANT PROTECTION PRODUCTS SAFELY. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. Accepted for use by BRI, NABIM and TASCC. K-Obiol ® EC25 (MAPP 13573. PCS 03641.) contains deltamethrin 25g/L and piperonyl butoxide 225g/L.
K-Obiol ® UVL6 (MAPP 13572. PCS 03642) contains deltamethrin 6g/L and piperonyl butoxide 54g/L. K-Obiol ® is a registered trade mark of Bayer CropScience. © Copyright of Bayer 2013.
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Grain & feed millinG technoloGy

may - June 2013 | 37


Accident overview Release of phosphine gas alongside Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland On December 5, 2012, the
Accident overview
Release of phosphine gas
alongside Warrenpoint,
Northern Ireland
On December 5, 2012, the general cargo
vessel Arklow Meadow was discharging
her cargo of maize alongside the timber
berth at Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland.
Fumigation retainers (socks) had been
placed on top of her cargo before the
vessel had sailed from Nikatera, Ukraine.
Although the vessel had been certified to
commence cargo operations by a shore-
side tank inspector after he had tested
the atmosphere in the upper parts of the
holds, the fumigant retainers were not
removed from the holds when discharge
operations commenced.
Fumigation specialist on vessel
Arklow Meadow during the
As a result, some of the fumigant retainers
were removed by the crew and some
were shipped into the shore hoppers. The
retainers removed by the crew started
to smoke profusely, and a retainer burst,
spilling its contents when it was removed
from the hopper. The smoking retainers
triggered a major emergency response
situation within the port and nine people
were taken to hospital for treatment for
the exposure to ‘poison’.
Provided by MAIB March2013

ber that phosphine gas can self-ignite at higher concentrations, another reason to handle it with care and technical under- standing. A cargo of bulk wheat loaded in the south of France for Iran, when the cargo was very warm and the ambient humidity was high, blew the 20-tonne hatch covers off by exploding and break- ing the cleats. Only the derricks stopped the hatch falling into the sea, which was fortunately calm so no more damage was incurred and the vessel could return to a port for repairs (Images 2, 3, 4).

More Information:


HSE, IMO and Coastguard Agency all working to the same standard and expectation. Methyl bromide requires about 24 hours to work, occasionally up to 48 hours, then the cargo can be ventilated and off-loaded or otherwise handled. Phosphine is a much slower-acting fumi- gant, not just in its generation from solid metal phosphides, but also in its action on the target pests, particularly insects and mites. Despite the much higher concentra- tions in most cargo fumigations, insects and mites take days to succumb. To work effectively the fumigation usually extends at least 5-10 days. This is not just to make life more difficult for the grain trade, but it is a biological fact of insect life. Insects can often survive more than a week at concentrations which would kill humans in minutes. So methyl bromide works quickly,

days with all crew safe on shore, than to allow the ship to sail with a much more hazardous gas in use, but utilizing the voyage time as an important component to get the best fumigation done at the same time. Through most of the world, we have almost or actually, lost methyl bromide for sound environmental reasons, but the simple tablet or sachet or plate generating phosphine gas is generating

a gas more lethal to humans than many

people realise. Not quite completed fumigation sleeves left on a wet deck could easily kill people. Working in a

hold before all gas has been vented and

a genuine clearance certificate issued by

a technically knowledgeable fumigator,

could be the last work a person does. Phosphine really is a more danger- ous gas than methyl bromide was, though all fumigants are hazardous to man. The human safe limit of 0.1 ppm compared to 5 ppm tells it all, and is not just a silly over-reac- tion. It is agreed throughout the western world, and the United States that this very low level is the only safe level to work to. My concern is to see work- ers not taking the tablets, sachets and sleeves and plates seriously, just because they look innocuous. We don’t need a lot of scientific detail, about the differences between these formulations - they all pro- duce Phosphine - sometimes quicker, some- times slower, but it is always a toxic hazard to man, and correct actions are needed to keep everyone involved safe. Gas detecting and measuring equipment must be available on board, and those who need to use it must have received suitable training. Gas testing must take place during the voyage to ensure that areas where crew members will work or sleep are free from dangerous levels of the gas. The ventilation system and procedures must provide a safe to handle cargo at the port of discharge, and usually this is managed by the profes- sional fumigator contracted to service the fumigated cargo. Just before I close, please also remem-

Image 4: Lightly toasted wheat!’ after explosion and surface flame in the hold
Image 4: Lightly toasted wheat!’ after
explosion and surface flame in the hold
Image 3: Testing for gas, after the event
Image 3: Testing for
gas, after the event

destroys the ozone layer, has never had a problem of resistance, and is ‘safe’ up to 5 ppm, and was done in-port. Phosphine takes days, sometimes weeks depending on species and temperature, has quite a range of species showing serious resistance, and is ‘safe’ only up to 0.1 ppm (or 0.2 ppm for 15 minutes) and is usually done at-sea. Remember: Methyl bromide should never be used for fumigation in-transit (IMO Recommendations, Annex 1D).

Weighing up the dangers

It is very easy to look at this and say that here is money talking. It is far too costly to hold a vessel in port whilst the fumigation is conducted and completed, over maybe 15

38 | may - June 2013

Grain & feed millinG technoloGy


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first published in 1891 In this issue: • Adding value to feed milling • Additives
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