Ag Update: Chemical Grain Fumigants and Forage Testing
Protect Yourself and Your Workers from Chemical Grain Fumigants
Because of a recent, increased need to fumigate stored grain in some regions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to publish a Chemical Safety and Health Information Bulletin addressing the hazards that chemical grain fumigants can pose to workers.
Chemical grain fumigants, commonly used for insect control on stored grain, often contain methyl bromide, phosphine and other toxic gases which can cause permanent central nervous system damage, heart and vascular disease, lung edema and cancer. As an employer, you should carefully monitor grain shipments and storage facilities that are subject to fumigation in order to protect your employees from the potential toxic effects of these gases. Using the quantitative test methods that are common to industrial hygiene practice can help you evaluate your grain handling facilities for hazardous exposures to fumigants.
Providing your animals with high-quality forage can have many benefits, such as increased animal performance and production and a decreased reliance on stored feeds. Knowing the quality of your forage will also help decrease your need to provide added supplementation to your animals. The quality of silage and hay can vary from season to season, based on weather conditions and other factors, so it’s important to find out the protein, energy, nitrate, and other nutrient values.
To determine the quality of your forage and whether it will meet the nutritional needs of your livestock, you must conduct a forage test. The test should be conducted by a lab that is certified by the National Forage Testing Association. To find a list of certified labs, go to foragetesting.org/. You can also get assistance with forage testing from your Iowa State University Extension Office or on their website at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/forage-testing-2012-13-critical.