Karma Dorji, Kinley Wangmo, Sujan Pradhan & Dorji Rinchen
Several maize storage technologies are made available and recommended to the farmers in the villages by different agencies to reduce post-harvest losses. This study aimed to evaluate the storage losses of maize mainly to insect and fungal damages in four different storage methods for a maximum of five months storage period in Thangrong, Mongar dzongkhag (district). Freshly harvested maize was shelled, dried, weighed and stored under four different storage methods and replicated three times for each storage method. Moisture content, physiological weight loss, insect and fungal damages were the storage quality parameters assessed monthly until five months of storage. All the storage methods maintained the moisture content within the range recommended for the safe storage of maize (12-14 %). The physiological loss of weight (PLW) was the lowest at 0.10 % for the maize grain stored in super bag and the highest at 0.30 % was observed in grains stored in curing and storage shed over the four-month storage period. Traditional storage and silos resulted in PLW of 0.20 % and 0.16 %, respectively. Overall insect damage (sum for five months) of 2.54 % in the traditional storage was the highest reported among the storage methods followed by 1.79 % for grains stored in curing and storage sheds. Insect damage of 0.64 % for super bag and 0.27 % for silo stored maize grains were observed. Fungal damaged grain ranged from a low of 0.19 % for curing and storage shed to a high of 0.31 % for super bag stored maize grains. Overall storage losses (sum for five months) to insects and fungal diseases were in the range of 0.51-2.80 % with the highest being observed in traditional storage and the lowest in silo storage. All the storage methods evaluated maintained good quality maize grains with minimal damage till five months of storage. The existing improved storage technologies could help in the safe storage of maize grains if stored after proper drying. It is recommended to conduct a similar comparative study for the maize harvested and stored in the summer months and also at a different location to validate the results.
Keywords: Maize; Storage methods; Storage losses; Insect damages; Fungal damages