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You need training before using a grain bin fumigant

A Farmer Pesticide Certificate is good for five years and a training course is required for a renewal

There are several ways to combat an insect infestation in a grain bin, says a provincial crop specialist.

Diatomaceous earth added to the grain as the bin fills can provide some protection.

“Cooling the grain to -20 C and keeping it there for a week will also kill off insects,” said Harry Brook. “Or you can apply a fumigant to the bin, seal it up, and then air it out after a week.”

However, a Farmer Pesticide Certificate is required to access aluminum phosphide (sold as Phostoxin or Gastoxin), and these fumigants only work when grain temperatures are 12 C or warmer. Since 2011, there is a much greater safety burden on users of aluminum phosphide, said Brook. For details on safety requirements, refer to the label.

A Farmer Pesticide Certificate is issued once the applicant has successfully completed the exam for the core course as well as the two endorsements on Stored Grain Pests and Vertibrate Pests (namely, Richardson ground squirrels). The course was updated in 2008 and a new five-year, renewable certification was issued starting in 2010.

“It is renewable by attending a training course to refresh your knowledge of the material,” said Brook. “You do not have to rewrite the exams to renew your certification.”

Only certified trainers can give the course and administer the exams. If a person wishes, they can study the course material then challenge the exam, but exams must be proctored by a certified instructor.

The core training session helps producers reduce risks associated with pesticide use. The course is recommended for those completing the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan.

“The Farmer Pesticide Certificate is also required for potato growers who need to access phorate for wireworm control, and for greenhouse growers,” said Brook.

For more info on training sessions or whether or not your certificate is still valid, contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM(3276) or at [email protected] Most producers contact their agricultural fieldman to attend a local training session, said Brook.

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