Bulk-bin manage-ment is essential to keeping feed as fresh as possible. For starters, try to run the bin empty between each feed delivery, says John Carr, DVM, Iowa State University.

Here are some additional check points that Carr says you should consider:

Monthly:

  • Inspect each bin.
  • Check for leaking seams on the bin.
  • Check for porous, rusty areas.
  • Examine inlet and exit mouths of augers.

Spring and fall:

  • Run the bin empty once a month.
  • Dust the bin with a mold inhibitor.

Every six months:

  • Pressure wash interior.
  • Allow bin to dry thor-oughly before refilling.
  • Fumigate to ensure the eradication of all insects and mites.
  • Monitor staff health and safety as they fumigate, as well as any time they enter a feed bin.

Carr also recommends reducing mold development, mite contamination and medicine residues. Here are some things to watch.

Mold within feed causes:

  • Palatability problems.
  • Loss of nutrients.
  • Feed wastage.
  • Animal performance and health problems.
  • Loss of profit.

Mites within feed cause:

  • Reduced nutrients.
  • Food wastage.
  • Loss of profits.

To detect mites, here’s what to do:

  • Mites are not visible to the naked eye.
  • They may be detected as pink/brown “dust” found at the base of bins.
  • If you suspect mites, pinch the “dust” into a peak. If live mites are present, the peak will soon collapse.
  • Some mites have a distinctive smell that is often evident if you rub the “dust” between your fingers.