Avoiding contamination of your wheat grain

In the frenzy of wheat harvest, it is still essential to protect this food crop from potential contaminates and possible rejection.

Though wheat harvest is underway, growers are encouraged to be ever mindful of sources of serious grain contamination that can result in huge discounts or rejection at the point of delivery. The following are just a few of the many contaminates that pose a risk to grain quality.

Treated seed

Every year there are a few loads of wheat found to contain a kernel or more of treated seed. This is a big deal, as there is zero tolerance to any evidence of a treatment. The grower could potentially be liable for the contamination of entire commercial bins. To avoid this chemical contamination, growers are encouraged to keep harvested grain away from the wagons, belts, augers or other equipment used for handling any treated seed.

Deer droppings

Because there is more plant lodging this year, there is more risk of contamination from deer droppings. The lodged plants tend to catch and hold the fecal material from deer and other animals, and the combine is incapable of separating all the material from the threshed grain. Growers should particularly be careful where deer are known to frequent or even bed. These areas, if lodged, should be harvested separately and inspected carefully. Bird droppings on the floor of parked wagons or trucks can be another source of fecal contamination. Elevator personnel may also be of assistance in the inspection.

High DON or low falling number grain

In a sense, grain that is sprouted or infected with head scab can contaminate, or at least compromise, any high quality grain held in a truck or bin. Particularly where mature grain is rewetted by rainfall or high humidity, or where the wheat is lodged, growers are encouraged to harvest suspect areas separately and hold the grain until a sample can be inspected at a local grain elevator.

Insecticide residue

The use of Malathion, while registered for use for sanitary bin sprays and topdressing stored wheat, is considered a contaminant by some millers. Much of the industry may refuse grain where the odor of Malathion is detected. Tempo is a better choice for empty bins and Storcide II for surface treatments.

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