With weather-related delays in the spring planting season affecting farmers across the country, many wheat storage facilities will be holding on to current supplies longer to maximize crop profits. Great Bend Co-Op in Kansas is no exception. But until recently, wheat storage options were very limited for the full-service agricultural company.
“For the last six years, we’ve had nothing but problems managing bugs in the wheat,” says Dennis Neeland, operations manager for Great Bend Co-Op. The company was forced to alter its treatment process following the 2005 government ban on pesticides containing methyl bromide. “We always had to move as much wheat as possible right after the harvest because we had limited storage options. We were leaving money on the table.”
And it was a significant amount of money for an operation the size of Great Bend. The co-op was established in 1959 with less than one million dollars in first-year sales and has grown into a full-service agricultural company with more than 70 employees and nearly $120 million in annual sales. Today, Great Bend Co-Op consists of ten branches with grain elevators throughout Barton and Stafford Counties in central Kansas and has a storage capacity of more than seven million bushels. In addition to storing wheat, milo, corn, soy and oats, the company operates a feed department and farm store.
“The damage from the bugs was costing us money on all of the wheat we had to store,” says Great Bend general manager Frank Riedl of the infestation, primarily consisting of the lesser grain borer and red flour grain beetle. “For a company like ours storing nearly one million bushels, we were looking at upwards of $50,000 in losses.”
That was before area manager Doug Crook learned of Diacon II Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) from the Professional Agriculture Division of Central Life Sciences. He had heard of others in the industry finding success with the product, and Great Bend Co-Op decided to try Diacon IGR at its storage facilities in early 2010.
“Diacon IGR worked incredibly well for us, and we were able to ship with zero insect damaged kernels (IDK) when our first batch of grain went out,” says Crook. “We’ve always done our best to clean our storage areas and tried several different premise sprays, but no insecticide we’ve used has the residual of Diacon IGR.”
Alex Roth, elevator operator for Great Bend, said the wheat is treated with Diacon II IGR as it moves up the elevator leg via a series of spray nozzles affixed inside of the leg at 45-degree angles. Roth said he has determined an ideal ratio of Diacon IGR that is mixed in a 200-gallon container and used to treat nearly 3,000 bushels per hour.
“I constantly monitor the wheat, and I was thrilled to find nothing moving,” says Roth. “The wheat came out very well conditioned.”
With the pest infestation finally controlled, Great Bend Co-op has been able to hold onto more wheat for longer, deliver a product with high protein and sell to flour mills that won’t accept insect-damaged wheat.
“Diacon IGRhas allowed us to maximize our profits by keeping us pest free,” says Riedl.
Diacon II IGR, a liquid formulation, and Diacon-D IGR, a dry formulation, are EPA-approved, tolerance exempt insect growth regulators (IGR) used to control stored product insects by breaking the insect life cycle and preventing larvae from maturing into adults. Diacon-D IGR is a dry formulation with versatile applications, including direct-to-grain or empty premise treatment. Diacon II IGR can be applied directly to grain or used in fogging applications and is approved virtually everywhere stored product insects are a problem — farm storage, large silos, peanut bins, food processing facilities and more.