Most farmers have a great challenge when it comes to storage of their grains especially due to lack of stores forcing most of them to sell immediately after harvest when prices are low. Most farmers have over time used traditional methods for preservation of grain as well as adopting advanced technologies that are cost effective, reliable and easy to use to minimize losses.
Some farmers are also faced with the challenge of marketing their maize after harvest.
Late harvesting provides a conducive environment for pest infestation.
Timely harvesting of crops like maize should be done before the husks starts opening up, which exposes the grains to pests and rain water and this causes rotting.
Early harvesting helps farmers in numerous ways such as enabling the farmer to efficiently plan for the next season’s farming operations, it reduces losses due to pest infestation from maize weevils and larger grain borer (LBG) and it also minimizes chances for use of chemical dust which have become resistant to these pests.
To minimize maize spoilage after harvesting; one should sweep clean the storage facility floor to remove any grains scattered from the floor.
Spoilt grains should be buried or burned, ensure that the holes and leaks in the storage bags or bins are patched to prevent grain loss.
One should also sample the grains before storing to get a clear picture of grain condition. Most insects prefer maize still in cobs for easier movement hence shelling the maize minimizes infestation and helps in monitoring pest damage.
Do not mix newly harvested grains with old stock which may contain insects,
Ensure the store has adequate ventilation to facilitate free flow of air. It is also recommended that the store should be raised with rat guards in place to keep away rats.