On-farm Storage of Organic Grain


Type: PDF, Factsheet
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Investing in organic grain storage? There are no shortcuts - all products grown to organic standards must also be handled or stored in a manner that prevents contamination or substitution with substances or products not compatible with the standard.

Many producers of organic grain make use of on-farm facilities for the storage of grain

Successful storage requires protecting grain from insect or animal pests, preventing contamination by moulds or physical contaminants, and maintaining the viability of the grain and its nutritional and manufacturing properties.

This Primefact describes how to achieve these objectives in ways that comply with the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce.

Organic farming:

  • organic farming can be defined as a system of sustainable farming that produces agricultural products without the need for artificial pesticides or fertilisers
  • biodynamic farming is a similar system utilising lunar and planetary rhythms in the farming calendar, as well as a number of microbial preparations to improve soil health

Organic certification aims to guarantee the integrity of the product ‘from paddock to plate’. Production, storage, transport, handling and packing facilities must conform to organic standards in order to maintain the organic integrity of the product.

The key parts of the fact sheet look at:

  • organic certification and grain storage – if a farm and produce are to be certified ‘organic’, the farmer’s methods of production and storage must comply with standards for organic farming
  • potential problems in storing grain – some storage problems result from conditions before or at harvest and some are caused by conditions during storage
  • organic grain storage strategies – retaining grain quality during storage involves satisfactorily managing the physical storage environment to prevent infestations developing and to maintain seed viability
  • harvesting strategies – harvesting at the correct time can avoid yield losses and minimise post harvest storage problems
  • grain storage management – good hygiene within grain handling and storage premises is a primary goal so that the quality of the products handled is not compromised through contamination. Grain moisture and grain temperature are key factors affecting the number and species of insects infesting grain
  • monitoring pest incidence – the use of insect traps in storages and surrounds can significantly reduce the amount of time needed to search for insects, detecting pests while growers sleep
  • reducing the initial infestation – every effort should be made to reduce the opportunity for initial infestation of insect pests and mice
  • storage design – poor storage design and on-farm layout of storages may affect the quality of stored grain
  • mineral dusts based on diatomaceous earth products are acceptable as grain treatments under organic standards
  • controlled atmosphere disinfestation – carbon dioxide has been used by some organic growers for many years to store bulk grain
  • grain management by cooling and aeration – a range of techniques have been developed to assist the chemical-free drying, cooling and maintenance of grain in storage
  • in-store drying – in the Australian climate, in-store drying can often be achieved without necessitating artificial drying
  • heat disinfestation offers a rapid chemical – free process for the disinfestation of grain
  • grain can be deinfested using CO2 in freight containers
  • vacuum packaging – raw and processed grains are becoming increasingly popular in the health food mark


2010 - Australia - DPI NSW
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