Growers are being urged to look to alternative grain treatments to maximise the quality of home-grown feed this winter.
Global stockpiling and trade restrictions are thought to have led to recent shortages of propionic acid – a treatment commonly used by UK growers to protect grain from pathogens and moulds.
Although market disruption could pose major challenges for UK farmers who routinely use propionic acid at harvest, alternative urea and enzyme-based grain treatment options are available.
PowerGrain is just one example. It can enhance stored grain for up to 12 months and provides growers with greater flexibility at harvest, says Andrew Sincock, commercial director for supplier Agriton.
“Urea and enzyme-based treatments help to enhance the quality of grain for an extended period of time, and importantly help reduce the risk of pathogens and mycotoxins contaminating winter feed stocks,” he explains.
PowerGrain should be applied directly to harvested crops with a moisture content of at least 16% within 48 hours either via a mixer wagon or mobile mill. A reaction occurs when urea combines with the grain, boosting protein content and alkalinity, says Mr Sincock.
Grain then needs to be stored under a plastic sheet for two to three weeks so that the required chemical reactions can occur. After this point, the sheet can be removed, and the grain can be stored safely for 12 months.
Mindful of changeable weather this summer, Mr Sincock says PowerGrain can also be incorporated into harvest strategies – so cereal crops can be cut even in challenging conditions, such as in light rain or heavy dew.
“Recent market shortages have put a magnitude of pressures on the arable sector, but UK growers should feel reassured that there are fantastic alternative treatment options available that can deliver significant benefits for both the grower and the grain.”