The Agronomists, Ep 37: Shawn Senko and Lorne Grieger on safe grain storage


Grain storage, when done right and with proper conditions, could be a boring topic. However, we are dealing with the environment here, and well, you know how unpredictable that can be.

To help us navigate through the topic of safe grain storage is Lorne Grieger of the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI), and Shawn Senko of the Canola Council of Canada.

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  • It’s the tough years when storage really comes into play
  • A lot of crickets and/or grasshoppers coming in. Will these insects cause issues coming in to the bin? Typically the number isn’t that large to be an issue.

CLIP 1: Canola School: Top tips for safely storing canola 

  • Don’t want foreign matter in storage, dockage. That’s a starting point for spoilage
  • There’s not a lot of pests that actually bother canola in the bin, but make sure you
  • Canola will respire for a few weeks once put in in the bin
  • Make sure you have a plan so you can effectively manage your crop once it’s in the bin
  • Dry + cool, and consistent airflow is key
  • Should you be turning the bin, even if you are just using natural air dry with canola? And if so, how often? It all depends on the size of the bin, really. However, rule of thumb is every few days. Canola has those pockets.
  • For the record, NAD = natural air drying.
  • Supplemental heat — if air isn’t enough, but we’re not putting it through a grain dryer, the supplemental heat is somewhere in between.
  • The first step is understanding your system and understanding what you can do yourself.
  • When it comes to relative humidity, charts are a good start.

CLIP 2: Busting storage myths: Is air drier at night?

  • Warm air has the capacity to hold more water. We want the air to cool the bin, but to also move any excess moisture out of the bin.
  • If you turn your fans on, do you leave them on till they are done, or until conditions aren’t so favourable? It’s not as straight forward as many would hope.
  • Where are you in terms of the crop condition is a key factor as well.
  • Get the grain dry, and then cool it off for longer storage.
  • Whats best in the spring time, do you turn it, or leave it? Research has found to let it warm up naturally is most effective.
  • Canola should at the very least move once in the fall.
  • Its not just the temperature, its the duration of the temperature, and the impact it can have on the grain quality.
  • Make sure you have a plan when it comes to drain drying! Be prepared if suddenly tough conditions arise in September.
  • Are grain dryers increasing in frequency? In the central/north parts of the provinces, yes. Technology keeps changing. Especially with supplemental heat sources.
  • The ability to automate is a really cool advancement.
  • Turn your fans on and leave them on — just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s the most effective answer.

CLIP 3: Corn School: Drying and storing low test weight corn

  • With supplemental heat, you really need to pay attention to temperature or you will end up with a lot of condensation and spoilage.
  • Keep a watch out!
  • Drying other oilseeds such as sunflowers, do we treat it like canola? The duo recommends checking out NDSU.

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