Even in a year where harvest weather was dry, understanding how canola cools and dries in storage is key to avoiding a big wreck in the bin.

Leighton Blashko, senior technical service specialist at BASF, joins Kara Oosterhuis for this Canola School episode, to talk about the factors that will affect safe canola storage this season.

“When you’re thinking about safe storage, really I think there’s probably a few things that producers need to think about,” says Blashko. “It’s not only moisture content, but also things like the temperature that the canola was binned at, any dockage or amounts of dockage that went in with the canola, and then maybe in certain cases, there’s molds or even green seed concerns.”

Just because canola went into the bin dry doesn’t mean you’re “out of the woods,” because for the first six weeks in the bin, canola respiration rates can be quite high, says Blashko. To determine how  respiration rates affect safe storage, there are charts available from the Canola Council of Canada for safe storage moisture levels and temperatures.

If there’s a lot of warm fall temperatures, those bins won’t have a natural cooling down process, so as temperatures cool down seasonally — with cooler nights or daytime temperatures — there are strategies to cool grain down says Blashko.

“It’s really important, if you’re talking about just aeration, that is probably fairly low air flow rates, so your fan size to bin size would be smaller than if you were trying to use it to do natural air drying,” says Blashko. “For natural air drying, you’re still using aeration fans, but you’re probably using the fan on a bin where the fan is larger.”

The correct fan size will pump out enough cubic feet per bushel per minute in air flow, for the size of bin, to get that canola cooled down.

Can turning bins replace aeration? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, says Blashko, adding that there are different strategies for different bin set-ups.

“If you have a bin that maybe doesn’t have as good of air flow, you don’t have those high rates of air flow, I would say you should still consider turning the bin,” says Blashko. “Pull out a load or two loads, put it in a different bin, or back in the top.”

Blashko says that temperature cables and aeration together are good, but those cables don’t catch every hot spot. Equilibrium charts will also help determine moisture and humidity factors to keep that bin in good shape.

Come January, Blashko says that with the value of canola right now, winter isn’t the time to “let the foot off the gas” and to keep watching bin conditions.

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