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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PRESERVATION, ENHANCEMENT, AND MEASUREMENT OF GRAIN QUALITY AND MARKETABILITY

Location: Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit

Title: Reducing post-harvest grain losses for subsistence farmers

Author
item Dowell, Floyd

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 11, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Solutions exist in developed countries to reduce post-harvest grain losses caused by insects to less than 1%, yet developing countries can experience post-harvest losses of 20-100%. Most solutions available to developed countries are not appropriate for developing country small farmers who account for 50-75% of stored grain. If these losses can be reduced, then hunger can be reduced, and income and food security increased. Varied results have been shown when using commercial and traditional methods of controlling insects that include pyrethroids, diatomaceous earths, ash, and local repellents. More recently, methods of creating oxygen-free environments using hermetic plastic bags and locally-available metal containers have been used. These methods can be effective, but can be too expensive for many farmers. Plastic bags also are vulnerable to damage by rodents and stored-grain insects such as the larger grain borer. We investigated the effectiveness of using seed bags in combination with readily available materials such as insecticide-treaded bed nets (ITNs). ITNs are widely distributed in malaria endemic areas. We have shown in laboratory studies that if grain is stored in these bed nets that have been treated with permethrins, there was almost no insect infestation. However, grain stored in untreated nets became highly infested. Storing grain in treated bags may also help reduce malaria vectors as similar chemicals are effective at controlling stored-grain pest and mosquitoes. Often locations with heavy storage losses also have high malaria transmission rates. It is our goal to implement cost-effective grain storage technology for subsistence farmers while simultaneously reducing the incidence of malaria in these areas.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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