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JUNE 2018





1 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

post-harvest management

Key points

• maintaining quality of vetch hay and grain starts with good

harvest management.

• moist and/or contaminated hay or grain will deteriorate.

• minimising handling of grain helps reduce damage.


2 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

12.1 hay storage

Vetch hay needs to be stored in dry, vermin-free conditions as moisture and vermin

cause hay quality to deteriorate. There are multiple storage options and selecting

the most suitable option will depend on a variety of factors (Table 1), including costs

(Figure 1).


Factors influencing the choice of hay storage include:

• timeframe of storage;

• available capital;

• frequency of loading in and out;

• distance to existing storage; and

• customer requirements.

t able 1: Hay storage option pros and cons – three stars is the best option, one star

the worst.

Note: Hay caps only currently available for large square bales.

Source: Aexco (2016) Producing Quality Oat Hay. Aexco

1 Aexco (2016) Producing Quality Oat Hay. Aexco


Stored grain information hub


GroundCover tM tV: Storing pulses,


Storing planting seed,

s torage factor top hay tarp Full hay tarp steel shed

3 sides s

teel shed

open sides hay caps

Capital cost per tonne *********

Durability ***** *** **

Annualised cost per year ********* ***

Top layer waterproof ****** *** **

Seepage from beneath **** ****** *

Side bleaching **** *** ***

Labour required at stacking ****** *** **

OH&S during stacking ***** ******

Freight savings from paddock ****** *****


3 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

Figure 1: 


$80 $70

$60 $50 $40$30

$20 $10 0 $6







Capital costs ($ p\Aer tonne) and dura\Ation

Annual cost ($ per \Atonne per \fear) Top

tarp T


tarp HD Full


tarp Full


tarp HD S




sided S




sided HD Hay

\faps Hay

\faps HD S


shed 3 sided S


shed 3 sided HD

Capital \fosts

per tonne \b10.77

\b9.33\b9.96 \b8.63\b61.54 \b53.33 \b15.38\b13.33\b80.00 \b69.33


years 2

2 3340 40 10101010

Annual \fosts

t/year 5.38

4.673.32 2.88 1.541.331.54 1.332.00 1.73

Estimated hay storage costs for different storage options for large squa\


bales compared to high-density square bales, which are the same size but

approximately 10% heavier. Excludes labour and logistical inputs.

Source: Aexco (2016) Producing Quality Oat Hay. Aexco


the Grain Storage Grownotes™ is

now available. Please see:



4 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

12.2 grain storage

Meticulous hygiene and aeration cooling are the first lines of defence against pest

incursion. Extra costs and/or downgrading are imposed at delivery points if live

insects are found in a load (see Section 11, Table 5).

Vetch grain should be stored at no more than 13% moisture, which is ideally achieved

at harvest. At moisture levels above 13%, aeration of stored grain will be required to

prevent pockets of moist grain developing (Figure 2). Green pods and grains increase

the risk of mould developing during storage, even at lower moisture content.

Moisture pockets can result in moulds and grain damage as well hots spots for grain

storage pests to breed (Table 2).


photo 1: Vetch for grain or seed should be stored at 13% moisture or less and

treated like other stored pulse crops.

Photo: Emma Leonard, AgriKnowHow

Figure 2: 

ColdAir Air releases

moisture on cold g\Hrain

Cold air settles

Warm grain

Warm grain

Warm grainCold grain

Cold grain

Cold grain

Warm air rises

Warm air rises





Air releases


Cold air settles


Air movement in th\ge bin during \fold (\gA) and warm (\b) peri\gods.

Hig\f moisture zone

Hig\f moisture zone

Influence of ambient temperature and the location of high-moisture hot

spots in grain-storage silos.

Source: PIRSA/GRDC (2010) Vetch: The Ute Guide. PIRSA/GRDC –

2 PIRSA/GRDC (2010) Vetch: The Ute Guide. PIRSA/GRDC –


5 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

table 2: The influence of temperature and moisture on stored grain insect and

mould development.

Source: Grain storage pest control guide (2013) GRDC, Kondinin Group

While the number of times grain is moved should be minimised to prevent damage,

transferring grain between two silos in warm, windy weather can reduce moisture

content by 1–2%.

Weatherproof sheds and silos are suitable storages. Bunkers need to be waterproof.

Silo bags should only be considered as short-term, temporary storage as

discolouration of grain can occur, moisture can be difficult to handle, odours arise and

bags can be punctured by vermin, birds or pests.

Grain stores should be cleaned and any residual grainstorage pests exterminated

prior to filling with fresh grain.

For post-harvest storage vetch should be treated like pulse crops. Chemical structural

treatments before storing pulses is not recommended. This is because pulses are

not specified on the labels of chemicals used for structural treatments and maximum

residue levels (MRLs) in pulses for those products are either extremely low or nil.

The use of diatomaceous earth (DE) as a structural treatment is possible but wash and

dry the storage and equipment before using for pulses. This will ensure the DE does

not discolour the grain surface.


Fumigation is the only option available to control pests in stored pulses, and this

should only be done in a gas-tight, sealable storage.

The ideal grain-storage plan is to:

• dry and cool vetch grain;

• store grain in the dark; and

• sell vetch as quickly as possible.

The GRDC Stored Grain Hub ( provides a valuable

reference library of the latest information on grain storage.

3 Storing Pulses. GRDC

grain temperature (°C) Insect and mould development grain moisture

content (%)

40–55 Seed damage occurs,

reducing viability

30–40 Mould and insects are prolific >18

25–30 Mould and insects are active 13–18

20–25 Mould development is limited 10–13

18–20 Young insects stop developing 9

mould stops developing

6 post-harvest management

Section 12 VETCH

June 2018

12.2.1 grain handling and cleaning

Belt shifters are recommended as vetch can be damaged by augers. Minimise

handling grain to limit physical damage. Run augers full and at a slower speed than

for cereals. Avoid dropping the vetch from a great height onto hard surfaces.

Poor handling can lead to cracked, skinned, broken and discoloured grain, which

affects classification and market appeal. While visual appeal is an issue for human

consumption markets, into which vetch is not sold, such defects can also reduce

germination and consequently viable seed percentage.

Poor grain colour (seed or kernel) can be caused by premature ripening due to

heat, drought or disease stress, harvesting immature seed (‘green kernel’), delayed

harvest, rain at harvest, disease, frosting and a dry, hot finish. Prolonged wet weather

pre-harvest may lead to poor colour, loose seed coat or wrinkled grain, which is more

prone to damage during harvest and handling.

Such defects can be minimised by:

• controlling disease, especially Ascochyta blight, chocolate spot and rust;

• managing the crop to lessen effects of frost or a dry finish;

• crop-topping or desiccating at the right time;

• harvesting as soon as the crop is ready, before rain and before grain moisture

is too low;

• carefully harvesting and handling grain to minimise grain damage; and

• storing in dry, sealed storage conditions. ▶ VIDEO

Storing planting seed,



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