More airflow is key when it comes to storing damp canola

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Managing tough canola is… tough. Especially after the year that was 2019 — and for many parts of the Prairies, in the late season, it would not stop raining, snowing, sleeting — precipitating in any form. Canola is still being harvested and will continue into the spring again; but for those who managed to bring the crop in, it may not be in the ideal condition. So how do we store it?

Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada, says when it comes to managing tough or damp grain over the winter, the best thing you can do is to make use of the cold temperatures.

“Get it as uniformly cold throughout that bulk as possible. We also talk about how you have to look at moisture and temperature in combination, and that’s definitely true. Still, we can absolutely use temperature to our advantage and stabilize even higher moisture canola,” she explains.

If a year like we had were to repeat itself, preparation is going to be key. Brackenreed suggests equipping yourself with more supplemental heat.

“We know a bit more about supplemental heat even more than we did a couple of years ago. So having adequate airflow — at least one CFM per bushel — and having more ventilation than you would with normal drying.”

Of course, understanding this is key when it comes to condensation throughout the grain bin.

“Airflow is really important because we need that moisture to push up to the top. We also need adequate airflow so we aren’t just massively over-drying the bottom of the bin, and accomplishing nothing at the top,” Brackenreed explains in the video below. “Or physically inducing heating at the inlet.”

Part of understanding airflow is knowing the proper specifications for your fan — because just running with the settings you were given often won’t give you the maximum benefits.

“I think a lot of people assume that if they’ve been set up a certain way by the retail, that it’s right. But we need to make sure that we’re checking. Canola has a very high resistance to airflow, and to achieve that 0.75-1 CFM per bushel, we need to make sure that we’re operating at high static pressures, but also with fairly high airflow rates.”

Learn more about storing your canola in the interview between RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, and Angela Brackenreed, filmed at FarmTech, in Edmonton, Alta:

Related: Storing and drying a high-moisture crop

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