Canola School: Top tips for safely storing canola

You’ve seeded it, sprayed it, watched it grow, harvested it, and now you’re putting the canola in the bin. On paper, storing canola may seem simple, but as per usual, the actuality of storing canola successfully is a lot more complex.

There are many factors to consider to properly storing canola and in this episode of Canola School, Angela Brackenreed, agronomy specialist with Canola Council of Canada joins Kara Oosterhuis to discuss the specifics.

“First of all for preparing bins, we don’t want to be putting canola into any bins that have had Malathion in this season,” is Brackenreed’s first recommendation. “Once we get canola into those bins, we want to be conditioning it immediately. Canola has a tendency to have a pretty high respiration rate for three to six weeks after binning, and we want to condition it down to somewhere around eight per cent moisture content, (and) ideally (at) less than 15 degrees celsius for long-term storage,” says Brackenreed.

It sounds simple, but there are in-betweens and grey areas that make canola storage not that straightforward. Conditions for naturally air-drying canola sometimes aren’t great, so supplemental heat is a great tool to extend those good drying days. The temperature at the inlet shouldn’t be much more than 30 degrees C because the air flow rate through a fan is really low, says Brackenreed.

Air flow through the aeration fan should be at least one cubic foot per minute per bushel. If you’re adding heat, you should be trying to turn those bins, every three days, she adds. (Story continues below video)

Binned canola is the most volatile in those first couple of weeks, but it’s not a “set it and forget it” type of situation, a disaster can still happen over the winter. “It just takes the smallest little spot of potentially elevated moisture or some green weed seeds, or some green canola to start that heating process, start convection currents happening and all of a sudden the entire bin goes up,” says Brackenreed.

Having moisture and temperature cables will make the monitoring process a lot easier.

If you have to harvest your canola a bit green, due to high winds blowing swaths in the forecast, be aware that canola can start to spoil within a day, and having the air on, even if drying isn’t achieved, will help to stabilize high moisture canola.

If you’re using a dryer, Brackenreed suggests consulting your dryer’s specific temperatures for drying canola, but a guideline for tough canola is 82 degrees C or lower, and for damp canola, drop that at least ten degrees. Taking four or five per cent moisture points down per drying cycle is the goal.

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